Boehner predicts constituent backlash against Dems

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicts that unless Democrats have a vote in the House before recess on their healthcare reform bill, it will get "shredded" when their members hear from constituents angry over the president's healthcare overhaul.

The leader, talking with reporters at a lunch sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, said that his Democratic counterparts may have backed off on holding that vote in the lower chamber but that they would claim victory if a bill passed in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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And in fact, by the time Boehner wrapped up his hour-long noontime conversation with members of the fourth estate, it was reported that the Blue Dogs and Democratic leaders reached a compromise so that the Energy and Commerce panel could move the bill before Congress leaves town on Friday.

Democratic Rep. David Scott (Ga.), a member of the business-minded New Democrats Coalition, was relieved that Blue Dogs characterized the deal as a "win-win" for his party.

"We can go away on the break in a win-win situation as a Democratic caucus, we have succeeded in continuing the momentum, delayed a vote but put together a framework for people to take the month of August to look at," Scott said.

For his part, Boehner hopes "that this healthcare bill will be scrapped" so that lawmakers can return after recess and "work together" on a bipartisan solution.

Regardless of what the Democratic leadership does on the healthcare bill before Congress heads home for five weeks, Boehner says that the Democratic rank and file has to answer for supporting controversial measures such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) climate-change bill and the president's $787 billion economic stimulus package.

In general, Boehner says that the Republican Party is faring better than it was — pointing to the electoral trouncing his party suffered in 2006 when the GOP lost control of Congress, and then in 2008 when Democrats bolstered their majorities on Capitol Hill and took the White House.

"We are doing better, but we have a long way to go," Boehner said.

This story was updated at 6:30 p.m.