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Incoming GOP Frosh President Sees Boehner in Little Danger of Losing Caucus

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio finds himself running a legislative gauntlet with the fiscal cliff talks, never knowing from one day to the next how much support he has from his members. Yet, from the perspective of the incoming leader of the Republican freshman class for the 113th Congress, Boehner is in firm command as head of the GOP Conference.

“I’ve heard very little of any kind of uprising, and I expect the speaker will be elected,” Rep.-elect Luke Messer of Indiana on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program. “I certainly would anticipate voting for him.”

On the program, taped on Friday and scheduled to air on Sunday, Messer said he appreciates the speaker’s willingness to lay it on the line in search of a deal in the past week, even while that meant Boehner has had to absorb hits from conservative critics.

Messer did not say whether he would have supported Boehner’s “plan B” legislative package — legislation that would have allowed taxes to go up on income of more than $1 million, and which was pulled last week for lack of GOP votes. But Messer said Boehner was doing the right thing in at least trying to find a solution.

“I support the speaker’s efforts to try to at least be a part of leading,” Messer said, adding, “Some of the criticism the speaker has received for proposing such a proposal, I think has been unfair.”

Messer also said that, although the current cliff negotiations are in danger of running into the beginning of the 113th Congress, his fellow freshmen have not been involved in the latest round of caucuswide teleconferences or briefings as much as the current Congress.

“It frankly varies,” he said. “We’re not in every one of those caucuses. . .We are being kept abreast, but I would tell you it’s not quite like being a member of Congress who’s active in there.”

Messer has a long record of public policy experience, having been an aide to former Reps. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, and Ed Bryant, both Tennessee Republicans, as well as former Rep. David McIntosh, R-Ind. He is a former Indiana state representative and worked as the executive director of the state Republican Party in Indiana.

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