The warmer weather is ushering in some hotter quotes:
• “Boehner is still the speaker, and everyone knows it is an impossible job.” — former New York Congressman Tom Reynolds, a Republican, talking about the future of House Speaker John Boehner.
The yak in Washington Wednesday was all-Boehner, all the time in the wake of his vote the day before for a clean debt ceiling. Boehner was just one of 28 Republicans to back the increase. Conservatives point out that the Senate Conservatives Fund has launched a formal effort to replace Boehner. Other Republicans have said if the speaker tries to pass immigration reform it should cost him his speakership. So as The Washington Post phrased it Wednesday: Why would anybody want a job leading a caucus that won’t be led? Bottom line: Boehner controls his fate today. But maybe not tomorrow.
• “I am deeply disappointed and angered by news reports that President Karzai is expected to release 65 enemy combatants, many of whom are responsible for the deaths or life-changing wounds of U.S. troops.” — Boehner on Wednesday evening responding to reports about the president of Afghanistan.
The fraying of relations with Afghanistan, and Karzai in particular, continues. In his statement, the speaker also asked President Obama to clarify how the country plans to end U.S. involvement. Meanwhile, the news out of Afghanistan is grim: Local Afghan forces are said to be having trouble holding areas that have been cleared of militants.
• “It is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.” — federal judge John G. Heyburn II on Wednesday ordering the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where the unions are legal.
The ruling by Heyburn, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, is the latest victory for proponents of same-sex marriage. Federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma have struck down bans on recognizing same-sex marriages in those states. Meanwhile, dozens of lawsuits are challenging similar bans around the country.
• “The federal marketplace finally seems to be getting its sea legs.” — Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation on news that enrollments via the federal government-run website for once outpaced state-based sign-up websites.
With 3 million people enrolled, under the latest numbers released Wednesday, the doomsday scenario that Obamacare could be a giant bust appears to be off the table. Still, lots of issues remain, including whether the right mix of people will sign up. The idea is that healthy people will pay for care of sick folks. But know this: Folks in the Obama administration are breathing easier tonight.