Political Animal


July 27, 2011 12:35 PM Counting heads in the House

By Steve Benen

The best possible scenario for Democrats tomorrow would be for House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) budget proposal to lose, clearing the way for a less-ridiculous compromise. To help ensure that outcome, Dem leaders want to ensure no conservative Democrats help the GOP leadership get a majority.

As of this morning, Greg Sargent reports, Boehner should count on zero Democratic votes.

After aggressively whipping votes, the office of House minority whip Steny Hoyer now believes that not a single Democrat will vote for John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan, delivering a blow to GOP hopes for getting it through the House, a top Democratic aide tells me.

“Hoyer has been whipping against the Boehner bill very hard,” says the aide, who is close to Hoyer’s whipping operation. “No Democrats will vote for it.”

This matters for a couple of reasons. One is political: Boehner would love to say his right-wing plan enjoys “bipartisan” support, and if even one Blue Dog breaks ranks and votes with the GOP, he will.

The other is more practical: zero Democratic votes will make it just a little tougher for the Republican leadership to pass the bill. There are 240 House GOP members, and it’ll take 217 to pass Boehner’s plan. With no Dem support, GOP leaders can lose no more than 23 members.

So, will they? As of this afternoon, the momentum appears to be moving in Boehner’s direction. The Speaker told his caucus this morning, “Get your ass in line,” and by some accounts, House Republicans are doing just that.

House Republicans seem to be rallying behind Speaker John Boehner’s plan for lifting the U.S. borrowing cap.

Several Republicans said they were warming to Boehner’s plan for linking about $1 trillion in budget cuts as the price for raising the debt limit — even though they would like to cut further.

Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers said “we’re moving in his direction in a big way today” as he left a closed-door House meeting.

Whether this is legitimate movement, or the result of an effective p.r. strategy to give the appearance of the House GOP coming together, is unclear. There were, however, a couple of firm Republican “no” votes who conceded to reporters this morning that they’re beginning to buckle to party pressure.

For more on what happens if the House approves Boehner’s proposal, check out our post from this morning.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • c u n d gulag on July 27, 2011 12:45 PM:

    Boners plan, unsurprisingly, is stupid.

    So, it won't surprise me a bit if more Republicans in the House rally behind it.

    And if it passes, it probably won't pass the Senate, in which case Reids better plan may be passed by the Senate, if it's not filibustered to death, but won't pass the House - because it's a Democratic bill, and they can't be seen to vote for something from a Democrat because, HORRORS!, that would be viewed by rabid Teabag nation as compromise.

    So, there we'll be on Friday and Saturday, sitting in this circle-jerk in the exact same place.

    Barack - the 14th on the 1st.
    F*CK 'EM!
    F*CK 'EM ALL!!!

  • Pasco2c on July 27, 2011 12:53 PM:

    Let me layout what I see as the awful result that is about to ensue:
    1. Repubs will manage to find enough votes to pass the Speaker's plan (Probably including 1 or 2 D traitors to make it "bipartisan") and send to Senate
    2. Reid's efforts to substitute his approach will be blocked by Repub filibuster--all Repubs will support it.
    3. After minor changes Congress will adopt Speaker's plan.
    4. Obama will sign it.

  • Betty Cracker on July 27, 2011 12:55 PM:

    "Hoyer has been whipping against the Boehner bill very hard," says the aide, who is close to Hoyer's whipping operation."

    Heh heh. That sentence made me 14 again...

  • Stetson Kennedy on July 27, 2011 12:57 PM:

    There is zero chance that a) the Senate will pass Boner's plan, and b) that Obama will sign it. I hope all GOP'ers vote for it, it will kill their chances to take both houses in 2012. In fact, they will lose the House, and lose more seats in the Senate. Voters don't take kindly when trying to screw with Medicare and SS.

  • Frank on July 27, 2011 12:58 PM:

    The White House should drop hints that they can live with this, right before the vote. That should help give some of the Tea Party wing cover to revolt. What the hell, with all the compromise that the White House has given, the Republicans might just buy it.

    In the meantime, they should make sure Pelosi and Hoyer pass the word that it's a sneak play to keep the Blue Dogs in line.

  • Live Free or Die on July 27, 2011 12:59 PM:

    So obviously this was big scam. Boehner can all of a sudden whip his caucus but could not do so a few month ago, or for the big deal? Dems have really gotten played

  • bdop4 on July 27, 2011 1:00 PM:

    Wow, Steny Hoyer actually doing his job? I'm in shock!

    One jewel among a sea of turds.

  • realist on July 27, 2011 1:05 PM:

    They have to count heads, because too many noses have already been cut off to spite their faces.

  • DRF on July 27, 2011 1:10 PM:

    As best as I understand it, Boehner and his leadership team are pushing hard to get the rest of his caucus to vote on a bill that probably won't pass the Senate and that Obama has vowed to veto.

    Other than pure political posturing, exactly what is gained by this? This seems to be a sheer waste of time with the clock ticking away. The fact that they are doing this instead of continuing to work with Democrats to find a solution strongly suggests that, at this point, the Republicans either don't want a solution or recognize that there is no bipartisan solution that they can get through their caucus.

    So we should assume that there will be no legislative solution before the "default" date.

    I think that, a couple of weeks ago, the Administration should have publicized its plan for discontinuing payments in the event that there is no increase in the debt ceiling. Let everyone know exactly what checks will not be going out, which services will no longer be available, which government offices will be closed down, what permits and approvals will be held up. People need to see how this Republican-manufactured crisis will affect them.

  • yo on July 27, 2011 1:15 PM:

    Won't it take 218 votes to pass his plan?

  • 2Manchu on July 27, 2011 1:16 PM:

    Wait a tick. I thought the TPers in the House were all about "Cut, Cap and Balance" or nothing.

    If the majority of them vote for the Boehner plan, doesn't that make them sell outs?

  • Gridlock on July 27, 2011 1:35 PM:

    All Republican'ts will vote for the Boehner bill because they are being told that "Cut, Cap and Balance" will be pushed hard 'next time'...meaning that right before the election we'll have fuckmookfest round 2.

    Captcha= Refese Gegenwart" - Boehner's real name

  • mcc on July 27, 2011 1:46 PM:

    Why are we waiting a whole day for Boehner to whip votes? Doesn't this have to be done period in just a few days?

    Should the Senate go ahead and vote on their plan, since it takes them 96 hours to do anything anyway?

  • exlibra on July 27, 2011 2:15 PM:

    This is Boner's *new* plan, right? The revision of the day-old one, where the numbers didn't add up (don't know much about history... I'm pretty sure that algebra is mentioned in that song as also being in deficit)? That plan? If so... Whatever happened to the 72hr waiting period, to give everyone a chance to read it and CBO to score it?

    Craptcha says it's all "very ddatitio"; very little data, indeed which is a stumbling, stuttering block.

  • Iany77 on July 27, 2011 3:43 PM:

    Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line - B Clinton.

    God, I miss that guy.

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