• Boehner Seeks to Avoid Social Issues
  • July 29, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • Social issues have long been a thorny area for Republicans on the Hill, and six months into the 114th Congress it’s clear that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is doing his best to steer his caucus clear of these kinds of issues.

    When moderates and GOP women criticized a late-term-abortion bill, the leadership pulled it from the floor until compromise language could be drafted, despite conservatives urging a vote. When Democrats attached provisions barring the display of the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries to an Interior spending bill, leaders pulled that measure too and—at least for now—have stalled the entire appropriations process until it can be resolved.

    On Tuesday, leaders delayed a commemorative-coin bill that would fund Susan G. Komen for the Cure over conservative outrage that the breast-cancer organization is allied with the abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood. And Boehner and his team have no plans to bring a religious-freedom bill to the floor in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision granting marriage rights to gay couples, despite its endorsement by conservative groups and more than 100 cosponsors, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).

    As the country heads into a presidential-election year during which many Republicans believe the party will need to reach out to a broader base of voters, this strategy could bear fruit for GOPers up and down the ballot.

    Despite the challenges of leading an incredibly diverse caucus, House Republican leaders have been able to smooth over concerns in at least some cases. The late-term abortion bill was salvaged when language protecting victims of rape was added to assuage women's concerns. And leaders are hoping to bring back the commemorative-coin bill in a way that excludes groups that are involved in abortion.