Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Boehner, a fellow Ohioan, was a good friend who was dealing with a wide range of strong opinions among House Republicans at the same time he was faced with an "intransigent White House, a Senate that doesn't seem to be able to get anything done."
"The reason that John Boehner has trouble managing the House Republican conference isn't a lack of leadership," LaTourette said. "It's because we have a lot of divergent opinions, and he lets people participate, which wasn't the case in the past."
Rep. Tim Scott, S.C., also defended Boehner. He told CBS' "Face the Nation" he was confident Boehner would still be the speaker next year and said Senate Democrats should come up with a plan and present it to the House. "The onus right now is on (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid and the president to come up with a solution, make it a piece of legislation, pass it through the Senate, present it to the House, and let's get back to the bargaining table," he said.
But Boehner's failure to push his Plan B proposal to the House floor was seen as a disappointment due to the increasingly small window of opportunity before the edge of the cliff is reached at the end of the year.
"I felt like the House should have gone ahead and passed Speaker Boehner's bill because it addressed the subject and we'd still be in negotiation," Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said on ABC's "This Week.
"If we get down to the end of this year and the only choice we have is to save taxes going up on the middle class, then I would support that, but I wish we would have a comprehensive bill that dealt with spending, dealt with entitlements and dealt with taxes altogether," Isakson said. "That's really what we ought to do."
A Senate Democrat said Boehner should keep his eye on the big picture when dealing with resistance from his own party. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on NBC's "Meet the Press" any comprehensive measure would require the support of Democrats, who control the Senate.
"If he and the president were to say, 'We're going to pass a bill with a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate,' we could get a mainstream bill," Schumer said. "What I've found in my 37 years as a legislator is that when you show leadership, when you show real direction and courage, even people who disagree with you will vote for you for speaker."
Meanwhile, another Republican senator predicted the United States would indeed go over the cliff and with the eager support of Obama and various congressional Democrats.
"I think the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on "Fox News Sunday." "I think he sees a political victory at the bottom of the cliff."
Barrasso contended Obama was particularly anxious to gut the U.S military, which he called a longstanding goal of Democrats. "Democrats have been calling for that for years, and he (Obama) gets to blame Republicans for it," he said.
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