Boehner on FISA Delay: 'Ask Mr. Hoyer'

Weighing in for the needed revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the House Republican Leader yesterday said “chances are good,” but could not say when and that reporters ought to “ask Mr. Hoyer [House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer]” about the delay in brining it to a vote on the House floor.

Referring to FISA and the Columbian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) that are pending before the House, House GOP Leader John Boehner told a packed luncheon of reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Thursday that “chances are good on both of them” coming up for a vote. But, the Ohio lawmaker quickly added, “FISA will be finished before CFTA.”

As to when there will be a vote on FISA, Boehner shot back “I’m the minority leader. I don’t schedule votes.”

Regarding the continuing delay on FISA coming for a vote, Boehner remarked: “You ought to ask Mr. Hoyer. It’s beyond me that they [House Democratic leaders] would allow this threat to national security to hang out there.”

Boehner the Million Dollar Man

Arriving late to the press luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, House GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) was joshed about “that $1 million” and dubbed by reporters “the million dollar man.”

They were referring to the judgment the day before that resolved the Ohio lawmaker’s decade-long legal feud with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) over an illegally taped phone call of Boehner’s. Chief Judge Thomas Hogan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered McDermott to pay Boehner $1.05 million in attorneys’ fees and costs, along with about $40,000 in interest. McDermott, who owes nearly $600,000 in fees to his own lawyers, was also ordered to pay more than $60,000 in fines and damages. McDermott said he would not appeal Hogan’s decision and, regarding his ten-year-long battle with Boehner, said simply “It’s dead.”

The feud began when McDermott gave reporters access to a tape made by a Florida couple of a 1996 conference call between then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Boehner, and other House GOP leaders regarding the Georgian’s legal troubles. Two newspapers published articles in January 1997 based on the taped call, which the couple intercepted from the cellphone of Boehner, who had been vacationing in Florida. Boehner retaliated with a lawsuit and a federal court found that McDermott acted improperly in giving reporters access to the tape, and in a 5-to-4 decision last May upholding that ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals said that McDermott’s offense was particularly egregious since he was a Member of the House Ethics Committee at the time he acquired the tape. In December, the U.S. Supreme Court led stand the lower court ruling.

“And I offered several times to settle this,” Boehner pointed out, explaining that there were three simple things McDermott would have to do: 1) say he was wrong 2) apologize and 3) donate $10,000 to a charity of Boehner’s choice. Because the Democrat could not agree, added Boehner, “now he’ll have to pay.”

When one reporter asked if there have been “any handshakes” with McDermott following the final resolution of their long clash, Boehner simply replied: “I haven’t seen him.”

Boehner’s Veep Profile

Who should John McCain tap as his runningmate? If John Boehner has his way, it will be a “solid conservative” and not another U.S. Senator.

Asked who he would like to see on a McCain ticket, the House Republican leader told the Christian Science Monitor press luncheon Thursday that “I don’t have the a short list” but he does have a “profile” for the best possible runningmate for the certain Republican presidential nominee. According to Boehner, McCain would be well-advised to select someone who is “younger than McCain,” a “solid conservative,” and someone “people see as a President.”

Noting that the Republican hopeful is a U.S. Senator and that the Democrats will choose between two senators, the Ohio lawmaker suggested that McCain’s ticketmate is “not going to be a senator” and instead likely to be “a former Administration official, a governor or former governor.” When I asked if he felt his onetime Republican House colleague from Ohio, former Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman, met his critierion, he replied: “I do.”

Boehner went on to say McCain has not sought out his views on a running mate, but that his key connection with the Arizonan was campaign manager Rick Davis.