Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.
In a letter this week to the leaders, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham says "outrage over Benghazi" and the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups has "rightly focused the nation's attention squarely on the actions of the Obama administration." The letter goes on to say the House must continue holding oversight hearings, "but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference."
The letter specifically mentions the Internet sales tax bill (which recently passed the Senate with lots of Republican support) and the farm bill (the Senate is working through it now and is likely to pass it soon). Needham says both bills, which House conservatives dislike, could prompt the press to write another " 'circular firing squad' article."
"Rather than scheduling such legislation for consideration, we urge you to keep the attention focused squarely on the Obama administration," Needham wrote in summation.
One might ask why Boehner and Cantor would even think about taking advice from a group that at times has worked at cross purposes with the House leadership agenda. But Boehner's spokesman didn't take the bait, choosing not to comment on the Heritage Action letter.
The Speaker has made it clear he thinks the House can and should walk and chew gum at the same time. On the investigations, he said at a news conference Thursday: "When you're trying to seek the truth, and if that is the goal to seek the truth, there is no line." That is, no line where they risk taking the investigations too far, something other Republicans are worrying about.
And Boehner said he doesn't think these investigations would get in the way of the House legislative agenda. "We've got a job here to legislate," he said at his on-camera Q&A Thursday. "We're trying to do everything to create jobs and we're going to continue to do everything we can to do that."
Next week the House is expected to consider a bill dealing with student loan interest rates and a measure that would approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.