Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
House Republican Leader John Boehner said Wednesday he is confident that Republicans can take back control of the House in November and that he has planned his initial agenda as Speaker if they prevail in the midterm elections.
But when asked by Politics Daily if is expects a challenge to his leadership post from a fellow Republican in the future, Boehner did not rule it out.
Speculation has grown
in Washington recently that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
, a young, ambitious member of the House Republican leadership, is working to raise his own profile for a possible challenge to Boehner's leadership in the future.
"We all have personalities, I clearly have mine," Boehner said. "I try to be very clear in terms of what I'll do and what I won't do. We've all got to run for re-election. It's one thing to get elected at home and it's another thing to get elected by your colleagues. I could describe it a lot of different ways but I probably shouldn't and won't."
When asked if he would stay in the leadership if Republicans fail to win a majority in the House in 2010, he said only, "I'm doing everything I can to help my team earn back the majority. All of my effort and my focus is on getting everything done that we need to get done so that we're successful on November 2nd."
Boehner is a 10-term House member who took over as the top Republican in 2007 after the GOP lost control of the chamber. Since then, he has overseen a comeback for House Republicans, who have remained nearly unanimous in their opposition to President Obama's agenda.
Even Democrats say
that Republicans could win back the House in 2010. Just four House Democrats are running unchallenged, thanks in part to an aggressive recruiting effort by Republicans in Washington.
If Republicans do take back the chamber, Boehner said he knows exactly what he would do as Speaker. "I've made it clear that we're going to run the House differently than it's being run today and differently than it was run by Republicans in the past." On his to-do list on Day One: Trying to repeal Obama's health care reform bill; trying to prevent an energy bill with a cap-and-trade mechanism to price carbon emissions; and trying to derail tax increases. The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
Boehner said he would work to add more transparency to the functions of the House and that he'd like to see less partisanship to clear the way for more partnering on issues. "If we're serious about solving the problems in this country, it won't be done on partisan votes," he said.
Boehner made his comments at a Washington, D.C., lunch sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, where he also revealed that he has not yet kicked his smoking habit (and isn't really trying to), that he believes Democrats are underestimating the Tea Party movement at their own peril, and that of his 11 brothers and sisters, three brothers have lost their jobs recently.
"I've got real empathy for those who are unemployed," he said.