Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.), who ceded the gavel to Boehner last week after four years in the job, went so far as to praise her successor’s handling of the situation in a bipartisan conference call Sunday.
Rep. Mike Capuano said Boehner has handled the situation “pretty well.”
“I think this kind of tragedy, if this isn’t a bipartisan thing, I don’t know what is,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “Some of the issues related to it may eventually become partisan, they’ve already started to. I don’t believe, I hope, I don’t believe the Speaker will get involved in that aspect of it.”
And Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) said going forward Members should move to “increase the discussion between the Democrats and the Republicans.”
Still, Republicans don’t believe Boehner — as leader of the GOP — is about to abandon partisanship altogether. Before his swearing-in last Wednesday, Boehner promised to deliver on an agenda that he said the electorate asked for — a repeal of health care reform, deficit reduction and spending cuts.
“The tragedy is being appropriately recognized by halting all legislative business,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist and former aide to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). “While the tone may be different between the two parties, the Republican agenda will keep moving forward as expected by the voters who elected them to a House majority.”
Rep. John Mica said that at some point soon Republicans will need to get back to the “people’s business.”
“I think we’ll dust ourselves off and everybody will be back to normal as much as we can,” the Florida Republican said, referencing the 1998 shooting of two Capitol Police officers.
“That was quite a shock,” Mica said. “We adjusted accordingly, but the business of the people and life goes on.”
Cantor has yet to announce the schedule for next week, but several Republicans said they expect legislative business will get back on track beginning with the health care repeal.
Rep. Allyson Schwartz said she was not convinced the events of the past weekend would dramatically alter how Members of Congress relate to each other. But she said it should.
“Going forward, we do have a responsibility to make sure that our political rhetoric is one that talks about issues and policies and positions — that we can well disagree on,” the Pennsylvania Democrat said. “But we certainly don’t want that to incite a demonization of Members of Congress or of government.”
Kathleen Hunter, Daniel Newhauser and John Stanton contributed to this report.