Political Animal


January 01, 2013 3:14 PM Will the House GOP Blow Up the Deal?

By Ed Kilgore

So here’s the latest on House GOP discussions about the fiscal deal that breezed through the Senate from Politico’s Sherman and Brown:

An overwhelming number of House Republicans in a party meeting are calling on their leadership to amend the Senate’s bill to avert the fiscal cliff and send it back to the upper chamber, according to several sources in the Tuesday afternoon meeting.
GOP leadership has not made a decision on what to do with the Senate-passed tax hike bill. They are using this meeting to listen to lawmaker concerns. They’ll have another meeting this afternoon, where a decision could come on whether to bring the bill to the floor.

Here’s the quote of the day about the prevailing sentiment among House Republicans:

Retiring Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio asked House Republicans why the House would “heed the votes of sleep deprived octogenarians,” according to a source in the meeting.
Amending the bill would throw into serious flux the carefully negotiated agreement between Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. Rep. Spencer Bachus said after exiting the Republican meeting that he expects the House to amend the fiscal cliff deal and send it back to the Senate.
“I would be shocked if this bill didn’t go back to the Senate,” Bachus said. The consternation is mostly about the lack spending cuts in the bill. Budgetary impact shows the accord adding to the deficit. Many lawmakers are also concerned about the two-month delay to automatic spending cuts.

It’s unclear whether the concern over the two-month delay in sequestrations is from deficit hawks who want the cuts to happen, or from Republicans who don’t want the permanent cancellation of Pentagon cuts to serve as Democratic leverage in the debt limit fight that will occur right as the delay ends. But there’s not much doubt insistence by the House on significant domestic spending cuts would threaten Democratic support for the deal in the Senate.

Stay tuned as 2013 gets off to a crazy and muddled start.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Mimikatz on January 01, 2013 3:31 PM:

    The Senate has evidently adjourned, per MSNBC. If the House amends the deal, it is likely dead. Then we start over with the new Congress. Good luck.

    Boehner has truly got himself in a pickle with the Hastert majority-of-the-majority Rule, rendering the government truly dysfunctional. Remember, Boehner couldn't cut a deal his members would accept, so he told the Senate to do it, which they did. Now he is reneging on his pledge to bring the Senate's deal to a vote. Cantor has evidently come out against it. The House is in shambles.

    Business constantly prattled on about how they hate "uncertainty" but they spent hundreds of millions to put these incompetent, delusional, petulant clowns into office. You can't do business with the House as it is.

    What a clusterf**k. We a re the laughingstock of the world.

  • Neildsmith on January 01, 2013 3:40 PM:

    Personally I hope they vote it down and we start over. Off the cliff and stay there. The American voters need to be taught a lesson. If they want to send people to Congress intent on obstructing and dismantling every part of the social safety net then let's do it. Better to get it over with, deal with the fall out and start again. We're going nowhere now.

  • Ejoiner on January 01, 2013 3:51 PM:

    Neildsmith I would agree with you but for one thing - my experience with various Tea Party/Conservatives over the past 4 years is completely at odds with "learning lessons." All problems are blamed on Obama and the liberals who are destroying our country. End. of. debate. They don't process and reconsider, they double down. It's really scary.

  • Josef K on January 01, 2013 3:52 PM:

    I've been wondering how the House GOP would manage to derail this. The earlier speculation that Boehner (and by extension Cantor) were kept out of the Senate discussions left me thinking this was a calculated strategy to ensure no deal actually emerged.

    There's still time for Boehner to whip up 25 of his Party to cross the aisle, but I'm not betting on it.

    So, what's the next step?

    “heed the votes of sleep deprived octogenarians,”

    Brave words coming from a guy about to enter the ranks of the unemployed, but it might as well be the House GOP's new motto.

  • jjm on January 01, 2013 4:01 PM:

    The rich, aka 'conservatives' (meaning they want to conserve all their money) are ACHING for a tax rise ON THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THE POOR, the ones they disdain in so ugly a fashion, claiming they are 'freeloaders' and that the poor little rich guys have to shoulder all the demands 'those people' make of government.

    This is who Cantor is representing, and he may queer the deal just to tell his guys that he stuck it to the 98% as they dreamed of. Their tax rise won't harm them all that much...

  • IndigoJoe on January 01, 2013 4:05 PM:

    I agree with Josef K's speculation. The deal had the makings of good cop/bad cop written all over it. Send it to the good cop McConnell Senate, and then let the House pass the final verdict, whether to wring out additional concessions or whether to kill the deal.

  • Anonymous on January 01, 2013 4:46 PM:

    I posted on my facebook page that I thought the smartest part of the deal was how Obama had moved sequester to coincide with the debt ceiling negotiations. I still think this is not a coincidence and a very good bargaining strategy on the part of the Dems.

    Question Ed, is Bohner going to hold to the Hastert Rule? Have you heard anything on that?

  • TCinLA on January 01, 2013 4:48 PM:

    Further proof we should have done to the South what Rome did to Carthage back when we had the chance. Get rid of the South and you get rid of 90% of the country's problems.

    Go read Michael Tomasky's excellent piece on the 200 year history of Southern bad faith.


  • Ron Byers on January 01, 2013 4:53 PM:

    Anonymous, apparently Eric Cantor and some of his buds agree with you. The President outfoxed Republicans again and even diehard progressives aren't quick enough to understand how linking the debt ceiling and sequestration is a smart move politically.

  • Steve LaBonne on January 01, 2013 4:53 PM:

    I wonder how the 44 Senate Republicans who voted for the deal feel about being hung out to dry.

  • JoyousMN on January 01, 2013 5:13 PM:

    Hey Ron, I forgot to post under my name. I've never really understood why everyone who wrote about the Senate doing a deal never mentioned that what ever they voted on had to get past the House.

  • bleh on January 01, 2013 5:25 PM:

    sleep deprived octogenarians ??!!

    Is this "LaTourette's Syndrome"?

  • emjayay on January 01, 2013 8:45 PM:

    "Business constantly prattled on about how they hate 'uncertainty' but they spent hundreds of millions to put these incompetent, delusional, petulant clowns into office."

    Well, they did the spending part but it seemed to me it was right wing politicians more than business guys who were much making the uncertainty claim. Not ones who weren't also just making the claim for their own political purposes - mostly keeping their taxes down and subsidies continuing. Isn't that the same or similar thing that Krugmam calls the "confidence fairy"?

    On related note, The stuff the Papa John CEO said about laying off workers because of having to pay health care is ridiculous. If the sewer tax doubles and the water and electricity also go up and you get your rent increased, you don't lay off the workers that are needed to make the business work. I'm sure there are no extra ones just standing around.

    And if every competing pizza place is in the same boat, they all just raise their prices a bit. He wasn't making a logical business point either, just politically motivated bitching.

  • emjayay on January 01, 2013 8:50 PM:

    Or, more directly, if all that stuff goes up you don't turn off the lights and stop washing dishes.

  • June on January 02, 2013 1:42 PM:

    Guess that Bachus sure is one "shocked" dude today.