Speaker John Boehner resigned, presumably, to save the government from another shutdown. Now he can pass a bill to keep the government open — while also maintaining funds for women’s health clinics including Planned Parenthood — by relying on Democratic votes to make up for Republican refuseniks.
But Boehner set his resignation date for October 30th, not September 30th. He’s giving himself an extra month. That means he can try to pass still more things with the help of Democrats.
Of course, Boehner is not a closet liberal. But he has long tried to pass compromise measures that would help his party appear like people interested in responsible governing, only to be thwarted by those in his caucus who are not.
Now is his chance to clear the decks of everything the far right has been holding back. Boehner can now put on the floor:
* Restoration of the Export-Import Bank, and show Republicans actually care about American manufacturing. The votes are already there in the Senate.
* A long-term transportation funding bill, that would create jobs and help Republican congresspeople look good back home! The Senate already passed a six-year bill (albeit only funded for three) back in June.
* A debt limit increase: Actually the person helped the most by this is whoever is going to be the next Speaker, who would otherwise have to grapple with this in a couple of months. Give that guy a break!
* The 2013 Senate immigration bill: As this was passed in the previous Senate, the House passing it now would only send it back to the current Senate for another vote. And there would be no guarantee Sen. Mitch McConnell would schedule that vote. But why let Donald Trump define the Republican Party’s stance on immigration? Holding a House vote would at least show Trump doesn’t speak for the whole party.
If Boehner goes out like this, he’ll be remembered for going out strong, not for being chased out of town.