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Florida Conservatives Not Backing Down Against John Boehner

January 11, 2015 - 6:00pm

Florida congressmen who opposed keeping U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in power came out swinging against the speaker in recent days, showing the fight is far from over.

Out of the 25 Republicans in Congress who opposed keeping Boehner in charge, five of them are from Florida -- U.S. Reps. Curt Clawson, Rich Nugent, Bill Posey, Dan Webster and Ted Yoho. Webster garnered 12 votes for speaker while two members voted for Yoho against Boehner. But, later in the week, Boehner struck back, removing Nugent and Webster from the Rules Committee which, with its role in shepherding legislation through the House, is one of the most powerful bodies in Congress.

Nugent came out punching against Boehner in a message to constituents sent out last week which garnered national attention.

I dont believe that John Boehner is the best man for the job, Nugent insisted. This may surprise some people (including the speaker) but it has far more to do with his leadership abilities than it does with his conservatism.

What I mean by that is that if you cant lead and you cant deliver, then your own personal political philosophy is pretty much irrelevant, Nugent added. Ive gone into far more detail about this criticism with him privately than I will here, but suffice it to say that there have been far too many occasions over the last four years where the House has been ineffective and America just cant wait any longer. America needs vision, a sense of purpose, and an ability to follow through. We arent getting those things.

Nugent slammed Boehner on a host of issues, including not pushing tax reform, waiting too long to sue President Barack Obama on executive actions and dragging his feet on setting up a committee to investigate the Benghazi terrorist attack. Nugent also hammered Boehner for being an inept manager of legislation who often had to rely on Democratic votes.

Yoho also continued to express his opposition to keeping Boehner over the past weekend. On Saturday night, Yoho sent out an email to supporters, promising to work with the speaker but also expressing his pride in opposing him earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives elected John Boehner to be the speaker of the House for the 114th Congress. While I did not support his candidacy and desired a different outcome, I am still hopeful, Yoho wrote. I am hopeful because the 24 Republicans who stood with me against the status quo and Speaker Boehner made history. Our efforts to change leadership for the better have been the most successful attempt to do so in over 100 years. Our group of conservatives came just four votes shy of dramatically changing the direction of our country for the better. Never before has a sitting speaker of the House faced such opposition.

More than that, however, this marked the beginning of a new Congress, Yoho added. This was a chance for members who supported Rep. John Boehner and those who voted against him to be a part of the solution. This was a chance for Speaker Boehner to prove to the members of the House -- and, more importantly, the American people -- that Republican leadership will act in the best interests of all Americans. It was a chance to show that legislation will be brought to floor based on merit, not because it is politically popular.

Yoho took aim at Boehner for removing two Florida Republicans -- U.S. Reps. Rich Nugent and Dan Webster -- from the Rules Committee for opposing his leadership.

Unfortunately, the actions of the speaker this week to remove Rep. Nugent and Rep. Webster from the Rules Committee, as well as taking Rep. Webster off key legislation, do not reflect a promise of good things to come, Yoho wrote. In fact, several media outlets report that more retribution is to come for those who voted for someone other than Speaker Boehner. Regardless, I am proud of the efforts of my friends and colleagues who stood up for the American people. In the face of retribution and pressure from other members as well as leadership, they stood on principle and for that they should be commended."

Yoho insisted conservatives like him will continue to keep up the fight in Washington.

Our group of 25 will continue to represent the people and will not stop in our pursuit of the core values, founding principles, and defense of our Constitution, Yoho noted. Washington didn't build this country -- We the People did. The time is now to take it back and rebuild America.

In the meantime, national conservative leaders, including former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, now the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, wrote Boehner, warning him about seeking revenge on conservatives who opposed his leadership.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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