On In-State Tuition Bill In Florida, Speaker Will Weatherford Steps Up; On Immigration Reform in Congress, Speaker John Boehner Steps Back
In a must-read story entitled, “How House Speaker Will Weatherford saved the ‘Dreamer’ tuition bill,” Mark Caputo of the Miami Herald captures the pivotal role played by the Republican leader in using the power of his office to ensure a vote. Caputo writes:
…it was Weatherford —not [Governor Rick] Scott, not anyone else in the Capitol rotunda —who most forcefully used his office to pressure the leaders of the Florida Senate to clear up a procedural impediment that stalled the legislation. Weatherford employed the bluntest of political tools: a veiled threat to hold hostage the state’s $77.1 billion budget until the Senate un-stuck the bill.
Weatherford’s move was an object lesson in leadership and legacy-building for the rising Republican star who leaves office this year due to term limits. He stuck his neck out early for legislation opposed by a significant segment of the GOP electorate, some of whom see the measure as ‘amnesty’ and could hold it against him in some future primary.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Unfortunately, the contrast between Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Florida Speaker of the House Will Weatherford is clear. Speaker Weatherford used every ounce of his power to ensure passage of the immigration bill, while Speaker Boehner has refused to put immigration reform to a floor vote in the House, despite having enough votes for passage. Speaker Weatherford stood up to the anti-immigrant wing of Florida’s GOP, while Speaker Boehner vacillates between rhetorical support for immigration reform and walking back that support when faced with blow back from the Steve King wing of his caucus. Speaker Weatherford understood that the in-state tuition bill was good for the state and good for his party, so he got it done, while Speaker Boehner understands that immigration reform is good for the country and good for his party, and yet seems too weak to get it done.
Perhaps Speaker Boehner should give Speaker Weatherford a call and ask for some tips and some inspiration.