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Graves to Floyd Republican Women: Talk about House speaker ‘open conversation’

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An attempt to remove House Speaker John Boehner from his leadership position is an “open conversation” that Republicans will have before returning to the Capitol after the summer break, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves said Tuesday.

Graves, whose 14th Congressional District includes Floyd County, referred to Rep. Mark Meadows’ motion to vacate the chair. Filed last week by the North Carolina Republican, the petition, if successful, would oust Boehner as speaker — a move supported by many members of the Floyd County Republican Women at their Tuesday meeting.

Graves didn’t say specifically if he supports or opposes Meadows’ motion.

“Part of August is going to be having that discussion,” Graves told the group at their monthly meeting. “Where do we go as a party? At some point we’ve got to put this to rest. I think that’s an open conversation.”

Some conservatives are frustrated at what they see as the Republican leadership’s failure to stymie President Barack Obama, and want a change in power.

The Ranger Republican said Boehner would have been smart to allow the vote. It would have forced House members to publicly state their positions.

Graves voted for Boeh­ner as speaker when the session began in January. He said Tuesday that Meadows’ petition fell flat, and few Republicans supported him. Boehner said it wasn’t deserving of a vote.

“It doesn’t mean it goes away,” said Graves’ prepared remarks, given before his discussion about Boehner, focused on recent videos that have plagued Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities and an international nuclear deal with Iran.

That nuclear deal, which would lift economic sanctions while restricting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, is opposed by many Republicans, including Graves.

“Iran is the only nation cheering,” Graves said. “Something must be wrong.”

GOP lawmakers have said they have the votes for a resolution of disapproval, though it’s unclear if Republicans could overcome a presidential veto of the legislation.

Sanctuary cities, those that allow people who enter the country illegally to remain, is another of Graves’ targets. He supports legislation that would withhold federal money from those cities, and require jails to contact the federal Department of Homeland Security when they release a foreign citizen who’s here without permission.

Switching gears, Graves referenced his pro-life beliefs as the reason for entering politics. Graves said he wants all federal funding removed from Planned Parenthood, noting a bill has passed through the House Appropriations Committee that provides no money for the women’s health organization.

“We were already there,” he said of removing the funding. “Of course, the Democrats are going to fight us. The country has got to come together and determine that life has value.”

Planned Parenthood has come under fire from conservatives after a series of videos shows one of their workers casually describing the purchase of fetal tissue. The videos have led some Republicans to call for funding cuts to the organization that, among other functions, provides abortions.

Asked about recreational marijuana after his speech, Graves compared some states’ push to legalize the drugs to sanctuary cities. He said states shouldn’t be allowed to vote on legalizing pot until federal law, which prohibits its recreation use, is changed.