Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland asked for a separate vote on that issue, but Republicans refused. The expiring program provides benefits to unemployed workers who have been without work for more than 26 weeks. The cost of a one-year extension was put at $25 billion.
The debate on the House floor was overshadowed by Boehner’s comments at his news conference.
The speaker, who famously says he is not affected by stress, has been criticized by some Republicans this year who accuse him of buckling under pressure from outside groups and their allies in the rank and file. He was elected to a second term as speaker in January after an attempt by some rebels to oust him collapsed.
The October shutdown seemed on Boehner’s mind.
“They pushed us into this fight to defund ‘Obamacare’ and to shut down the government. ... That wasn’t exactly the strategy that I had in mind,” he said. “But if you recall, the day before the government reopened, one of the people that — one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. Are you kidding me?”
Boehner’s remarks were part of a broader response by the Republican establishment as it struggles to counter the influence of organizations like Heritage Action, the Club For Growth, and the Senate Conservatives Fund.
The Senate Republican campaign organization, effectively an extension of the leadership, let it be known it would not give any business to Jamestown Associates, an advertising firm that has worked for the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Republican officials have urged traditional political allies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to step up their involvement in campaigns as a way to counter the influence of tea party-aligned groups, and in one or two cases, have noted with satisfaction that particularly hard-line rebels in the House will face primary challengers next year.