Relationship Between Boehner, McConnell Faces Tough Test

The relationship between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) will be tested in the months ahead as political forces pull them in different directions.

Boehner is under pressure to persuade conservatives in his caucus to accept deals raising taxes and addressing an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country. 

McConnell’s job is to help get major bipartisan deals through the Senate, but he also has to worry about reelection in 2014 and a possible challenge from the right in a GOP primary. 

Already, the two leaders have struck different tones on the prospect of boosting federal tax revenues. Boehner has adopted a conciliatory tenor, while McConnell has taken a harder-nosed approach. 

Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, said, “The reelection is really weighing on McConnell’s mind.

“Kentucky is more of a right-leaning state,” he added. 

He said McConnell has to worry about a primary and a general-election challenge in 2014. He needs to figure out how to move possibly controversial deals on taxes and immigration reform through the Senate without damaging his standing with the party’s base. 

O’Connell predicted that McConnell would let Boehner take the lead in tax and immigration reform talks, which would give him more flexibility to let deals move through the Senate. 

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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