A word of advice to Speaker of the House John Boehner: before you go on national television to tout your House Republican debt reduction plan, you might want to check with House Republicans first. Because as AP, the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal among others are reporting, Speaker Boehner doesn’t have the votes from the “default deniers” in his own party, forcing him to rewrite his smaller-than-expected bill. All of which means that Democrats are going to have save John Boehner - and the country – from the Republican Party he claims to lead.
Two weeks ago, Speaker Boehner acknowledged that as many as 60 GOP Congressmen “who won't vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances.” That includes, the conservative Washington Times reported, Speaker Boehner’s own bill:
“There are not 218 Republicans in support of this plan,” Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who heads the powerful conservative caucus in the House, told reporters Tuesday morning.
If Mr. Jordan is right, that would mean Speaker John A. Boehner would have to rely on Democrats to pass the $1.2 trillion spending cuts plan — support Democrats’ top vote-counter said he’ll be hard-pressed to gain.
As the AP explained, Boehner’s problems with his own caucus grew worse as the day wore on:
Boehner wasn't helped by an official congressional analysis late Tuesday that said his plan would produce smaller savings than originally promised — less than $1 trillion in spending cuts over the coming decade rather than the $1.2 trillion he estimated on Monday.
Earlier, responding to the conservative Republican opposition, Boehner quickly went on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, then he began one-on-one chats with wavering Republicans on the House floor during midday roll call votes.
"He has to convince a few people," Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., observed dryly from a doorway.
For his part, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor pleaded with his fellow Republicans to fall into line. Lamenting that “the debt limit vote sucks,” he told his GOP colleagues to “stop whining.” As Politico reported:
Republicans have three options, Cantor said: risk default, pass Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plan — which he thinks gives President Barack Obama a blank check — or “call the president’s bluff” by passing the Boehner plan, which not only cuts deeply into domestic spending but calls for a bipartisan commission to find more savings.
At this point, a presidential veto is the least of John Boehner’s worries. While polling shows voters back President Obama in the debt ceiling stand-off, GOP groups like the Club for Growth and presidential candidates like Michele Bachmann came out against his proposal. Meanwhile, House Democrats made clear they will not provide Boehner the votes he needs for passage of his plan. As NPR reported:
If Boehner hopes to make up the lost Republican votes with Democratic votes, Rep. Steny Hoyer had a message for him. Don't count on it…
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) on Tuesday predicted Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) debt-ceiling proposal would win scant support from Democrats.
Hoyer declined to say whether Boehner's bill could clear the House, but stated that "very few" Democrats would support the measure.
Two weeks ago, John Boehner attacked President Obama, proclaiming, “This debt-limit increase is his problem.” Less than 24 hours after going “mano a mano” with Obama, the problem is Speaker Boehner’s.
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