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And Boehner doesn’t have a completely free hand in dealing with Reid; he will have to defer periodically to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Sen. Richard Burr, who is personally close with Boehner, expects that to happen on occasion.
“In more cases than not, John will yield to Mitch to be the liaison with Harry Reid versus for John to do it directly,” the North Carolina Republican said.
Burr and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — another close friend of Boehner’s — said that while they don’t expect the Speaker-designate to bend on principles, Boehner does recognize that no legislation will pass without the Senate signing off.
At least a few veteran House Republicans seem to understand that reality.
“It’s important that the House and Senate work together in a meaningful way,” Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) said. “Clearly there is going to be some disagreements but for the no-brainer stuff” it’s important.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who served with Boehner in the House, warned that bipartisanship goes both ways. He said stubbornness on the part of the new House Majority would leave them empty-handed in terms of legislative accomplishments.
“I think it’s going to be difficult,” Brown said. “If Boehner is going to insist on the economic policies of more tax cuts for the richest Americans, more deregulation, more trade agreements. ... If that’s what Boehner is going to insist on, it’s going to be hard for any of us to cooperate.”