In fact, those frustrations boiled over during a meeting shortly before last month’s CR vote. According to Republicans familiar with the issue, the meeting, which was originally not scheduled to be about the CR, quickly became a forum for rank-and-file Members to express their frustrations. Numerous lawmakers complained about Boehner’s process and argued that Boehner and Jackson should have held out for a deal with significantly deeper spending cuts.
Initially, it appeared Boehner was approaching the debt limit differently — tapping Cantor to lead the House Republican negotiating team. However, most lawmakers said the bipartisan group is more for show and that real negotiating will be done elsewhere, with Boehner plugged in directly.
Not everyone thinks that’s a bad idea. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said negotiating deals is the Speaker’s job.
“You have 435 egos here; we’d all like to be in the room,” the second-term lawmaker said. “The reality is we elected leadership to do that, and I think they’ve been very responsive in allowing us to express our opinions.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.