Posted on | July 28, 2011 | 27 Comments
Despite the fact that 53 Senate Democrats have signed a letter vowing to vote against it, John Boehner is pushing ahead to bring his budget bill to a vote today in the House of Representatives:
The new measure depends on caps on agency budgets to cut more than $900 billion from the deficit over the coming decade while permitting a commensurate increase in the nation’s borrowing to allow the government to pay its bills.
Boehner acknowledged that the measure was hardly perfect but represented “the best opportunity we have to hold the president’s feet to the fire. He wants a $2.4 trillion blank check that lets him continue his spending binge through the next election. This is the time to say no.” Boehner made the comments Wednesday to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.
The vote won’t come until late this afternoon — they don’t want to risk scaring Wall Street with a failed vote before the markets close — and Boehner is expected to have to do some serious arm-twisting to get the 218 votes needed to pass the bill in the House. Jim Antle at The American Spectator lays out Boehner’s problems with his own caucus:
Bamboozled time and again by Democratic presidents and their own leadership, many rank-and-file conservatives . . . are unwilling to raise either taxes or the federal debt limit in exchange for phantom spending cuts.
Late Wednesday, there were signs that the speaker was quelling this conservative rebellion. Boehner revised the plan to include $22 billion in deficit reduction in the first year and to cut and cap spending by an amount that exceeds the debt ceiling increase by $17 billion, according to the updated CBO score circulated by the speaker’s press office. “Get your ass in line,” Boehner reportedly told wavering members.
They may be complying. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who has at times seemed to be positioning himself to Boehner’s right in the debt ceiling debate, pronounced himself “150 percent” in the speaker’s corner. According to press reports, Cantor exhorted members to quit their “whining” and vote for the Boehner plan. “The debt limit vote sucks,” Cantor is said to have admitted, but it was time to “call the president’s bluff” by passing spending cuts and a short-term debt ceiling hike.
Thursday’s vote on the House Republican debt-limit bill has quickly become a referendum on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
It is, without question, the biggest vote of Boehner’s reign. Some are even speculating that Boehner’s Speakership is on the line.
Of course, any bill acceptable to 218 House Republicans may be impossible to get approved by Harry Reid’s Democrat majority in the Senate. All 53 Senate Democrats signed a letter to Boehner yesterday, saying the House GOP’s bill is not “responsible” and “will do America more harm than good.” Allahpundit at Hot Air comments:
So that’s how this story ends. With the party of endless spending and entitlements unto death lecturing fiscal conservatives on how they’re leading the country into a credit downgrade. Perfecto.
Harry Reid has his own plan, but hasn’t brought it to the Senate floor yet and, as Alison Acosta Frazier of Heritage explains, Reid’s plan hands Obama an immediate $2.75 trillion blank check in return for . . . uh, not much. Never mind the CBO scoring. Reid’s proposal employs a typical D.C. budget gimmick: “We’re going to cut X, Y and Z in year 7, 8 and 9 of this 10-year plan — and you can trust us to keep our promises, right?”
Yeah, Mom, I promise I’m gonna eat that broccoli casserole tomorrow. Now can I have some ice cream?
But this is all hypothetical anyway, because even if a compromise can be worked out between the House and Senate — and the Senate has so far passed absolutely nothing — Obama has promised a veto.
So expect a lot of hooplah on the cable-news networks, making the grand kabuki dance seem like a world-historic event, but passing the Boehner plan in the House will really be just the first tiny step toward bringing this mess to a conclusion.