Networks Deride 'Rebellious' 'Hardline Conservatives' Creating 'Chaos'
On Friday, all three network morning shows played up the theme of stubborn House GOP conservatives opposing Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling plan. On CBS's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge proclaimed: "House Republicans will meet again this morning after hardline conservatives handed House Speaker John Boehner a major setback."
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos announced: "The House Speaker's debt plan melts down after hours of arm twisting failed to subdue a Tea Party rebellion." On NBC's Today, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "A parade of those rebellious holdout Republicans were summoned to the Speaker's office."
Stephanopoulos went on to lament the "chaos in Washington" and remarked how House Republicans "sure couldn't get their act together." He further added: "House Speaker John Boehner planned to pass his solution last night but all his tough talk and back office bullying couldn't get the votes."
O'Donnell similarly observed: "Hour after hour, the arm-twisting went on behind closed doors. Few said any minds had been changed." CBS congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes described: "An embarrassing turn of events for GOP leaders, who spent days browbeating conservative holdouts into voting yes."
In addition to focusing on divisions in the GOP, Today co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "Are lawmakers wasting too much time on a bill that perhaps has no chance of passing in the first place?"
On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Elizabeth Vargas called on members of Congress to just "grow up": "Well, and certainly the public is starting to lose patience. We've got all sorts of newspapers today, 'Congress as kindergarten.' 'The grown-ups must take over.' This big headline, 'Grow up.' [Holds up the New York Daily News.] I mean, how much longer can this continue? People are, sort of, baffled that even the Republicans can't coalesce and come together."
Here is a portion of the July 29 Early Show coverage:
WRAGGE: There's still not enough votes on Capitol Hill to pass any spending cut bill, with just four days left to the deadline for raising the government's debt limit. House Republicans will meet again this morning after hardline conservatives handed House Speaker John Boehner a major setback.
CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has the latest for us this morning. Nancy, good morning.
NANCY CORDES: Good morning to you, Chris. This was one of the wildest nights we've seen on Capitol Hill in quite some time. The House was set to vote on a bill, put forward by Speaker Boehner, at around 5:45 last night, but they pulled the bill from the floor at the last minute, saying they didn't have the votes. Hours of arm-twisting followed behind closed doors, but at around 10:30, they threw in the towel, saying they'd try again today.
[CBS News Graphic: "Capitol Hill Chaos: House Delays Debt Vote As Clock Ticks"]
REP. JAMES LANKFORD, R, OKLAHOMA (from speech on the House floor): It would designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 45-
CORDES (voice-over): Members of Congress had to turn to naming post offices, after Republican leaders yanked their debt ceiling bill from the floor right before the vote.
REP. STEVEN LATOURETTE, R, OHIO: Further consideration of S. 627 is postponed.
CORDES: An embarrassing turn of events for GOP leaders, who spent days browbeating conservative holdouts into voting yes.
Here is a portion of the Good Morning America coverage:
7:00AM ET TEASE:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Breaking news overnight. Chaos on Capitol Hill. The House Speaker's debt plan melts down after hours of arm twisting failed to subdue a Tea Party rebellion. All bets are off for what happens next.
7:01AM ET SEGMENT:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, let's get right to that chaos in Washington. In just five days, America can no longer borrow more to pay our bills unless Congress gets its act together. And, boy, last night they sure couldn't get their act together. House Speaker John Boehner planned to pass his solution last night but all his tough talk and back office bullying couldn't get the votes. They pulled it shortly before midnight last night. Jon Karl is watching it all from Capitol Hill. And, John, the Speaker says he's going to try again today.
JON KARL: He will. But, George, this debt ceiling crisis has become a political crisis for Republicans. Boehner is going to convene all 240 House Republicans this morning to make one final push for it. But the reason he pulled the bill last night is he just couldn't get enough Republicans to pass his own bill. Republican leaders worked late into the night trying to get the votes to pass their own debt ceiling bill. Reporters swarmed around Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz as he emerged from a tense meeting in Speaker Boehner's office. He told us he's still a no. How much pressure is there on you to change your mind on this?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-Utah): I'm very pleasantly surprised that they are not twisting and ripping arms off.
KARL: The Speaker has said he can't do his job if you guys aren't there to support him.
CHAFFETZ: I am fully supportive of the Speaker.
KARL: But, this is his most important vote yet as Speaker.
CHAFFETZ: I just can't support his bill, but I do support the Speaker. Thank you.
KARL: But for Speaker of the House John Boehner, the political stakes could not be higher.
Here is a portion of the Today coverage:
7:01AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: Yeah, there's a lot up in the air. Both House Republicans and Senate Democrats will meet this morning. This after Speaker John Boehner failed to find enough votes within his own party to push his plan through the House. So, are lawmakers wasting too much time on a bill that perhaps has no chance of passing in the first place? We're live on Capitol Hill with the latest on that coming up in just a couple of minutes.
7:02AM ET SEGMENT:
CURRY: Let's begin this morning with the debt ceiling crisis in Washington. NBC's Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell has been covering this story and she's got the latest this morning. Kelly, good morning.
KELLY O'DONNELL: Well, good morning, Ann. From delayed to potentially derailed, is that where we are this morning? Hours and hours went by overnight when House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team were trying to get a handful of their own members to go along, to come together on a solution to raise the debt ceiling and to cut spending. But they are nowhere. So now we know that all the Republican House members will meet this morning to try to find a way out.
JOHN BOEHNER: It's time for somebody in this town to say yes.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: 4 Days and Counting; Boehner Can't Get GOP Votes to Pass Debt Deal]
O'DONNELL: If it were only that simple. But something happened on the way to fixing the debt limit. A handful of House conservatives bucked the Speaker. They refused to go along with John Boehner's proposal to raise the debt ceiling.
LOUIE GOHMERT [REP. R-TX]: And I know that there are people in my party that want to keep beating up on me because I can't vote for a bill that only cuts $1 trillion.
O'DONNELL: Earlier in the day, the get-in-line message had brought some Tea Party freshman on board.
SEAN DUFFY [REP. R-WI]: Is this as big as we wanted to go? Heck no. We wanted to go bigger. We ran on going bigger but this is the only proposal on the table that accomplishes the goals that we set out to do.
O'DONNELL: But by evening the plug had quietly been pulled. The critical vote on hold.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Further consideration, of S-627 is postponed.
O'DONNELL: That dashed Senate Democrats, who were on stand by to defeat Boehner's bill.
CHUCK SCHUMER [SEN. D-NY]: And we are simply four days away from one of the worst financial catastrophes that could face this country.
O'DONNELL: They were told to get dinner and hang out.
HARRY REID [SEN. D-NV]: I don't expect or anticipate any action here before 9:00.
O'DONNELL: A parade of those rebellious holdout Republicans were summoned to the Speaker's office. Hour after hour, the arm twisting went on behind closed doors. Few said any minds had been changed.
- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.