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July 28, 2011 2:00 PM Senate to quickly dispatch Boehner bill tonight

By Steve Benen

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will bring his budget proposal to the floor later today, but not until after 5 p.m. eastern. The Republican Speaker doesn’t want the outcome to rattle Wall Street, and he needs all the time he can get to lock up every last vote within in his own caucus.

As of this afternoon, the margin will be extremely close, and a vote or two in either direction could dictate the outcome.

The problem, of course, is that all of this drama is for naught. Even if Boehner’s bill passes the House, it will go to the Senate where a clear majority is eager to kill it. In fact, they’re so eager to dispatch the right-wing plan, the Senate intends to do so with unusual speed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made this announcement today:

For those who can’t watch clips online, Reid explained, “As soon as the House completes its vote tonight or this afternoon, the Senate will move to take up [the Boehner bill]. It will be defeated. They know that, and the American people should understand that clearly. No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation we are in today a few short months from now.”

Reid added that economists believe a short-term extension carries some of the same risks as a technical default.

How can the slow-moving Senate move so quickly, killing a bill within hours of it passing the House? Brian Beutler explained, “[T]o expedite the process, and to prove as swiftly as possible that Boehner’s plan is DOA in the Senate, Reid will move to table the bill. All Democrats will vote to table the legislation, Reid has said, and then it’s on to the next step. “

Suzy Khimm added, “The advantage of tabling is that it’s faster…. The disadvantage of tabling is that Republicans will insist that Boehner’s proposal had a chance in the Senate, and that Reid was simply afraid that it would pass.”

The latter isn’t a concern — 58 senators, including every Democrat in the majority caucus, are already on record against the Boehner plan.

This clarity should also remind House Republicans that they’re sticking their necks out, voting for a right-wing plan that will fail later tonight, even if it passes the House.

Boehner seems to believe Dems are somehow bluffing, and that his plan has a real shot in the upper chamber. I hate to disappoint him, but Democrats are lousy poker players. They’re not kidding. If the Speaker’s measure passes the House, it will meet a swift end very soon after.

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.

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  • jjm on July 28, 2011 2:04 PM:

    Haven't seen this detailed except at Daily Kos today:

    "Boehner's plan isn't awful because it raises the debt limit in two stages, it's awful because it requires Congress to cut somewhere between $1.6 and $1.8 trillion from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid within the next six months. Other than that requirement—which I think is significant—it's basically the same thing as the Reid bill."

    Boehner is demanding nearly $2 trillion in CUTS TO SS, Medicare and Medicaid over the next SIX MONTHS!

    Why hasn't this been the headline anywhere?

  • Mac on July 28, 2011 2:05 PM:

    I actually think that this makes it *more* likely that Boehner will get the votes they need. Why would a Repub representative pass up a chance to curry favor with Boehner when the vote doesn't matter?

  • Jon on July 28, 2011 2:08 PM:

    If I were a Tea Party representative in the House, this knowledge of certain failure for the bill would ensure that I voted against it, since it would allow me to appease my base without actually damaging the larger GOP cause.

  • Beulahmo on July 28, 2011 2:15 PM:

    "Boehner seems to believe Dems are somehow bluffing, and that his plan has a real shot in the upper chamber."

    John Boehner has been an alcoholic for a very long time. He doubtlessly has a lot of experience with magical thinking.

    This is painful to watch.

  • Werewolf on July 28, 2011 2:19 PM:

    @Mac:
    Why bother currying favor with Boehner? Odds are, Cantor will be Speaker soon. In any case, Boehner is an extremely weak Speaker. Nothing to be gained by kissing up to him.

  • T2 on July 28, 2011 2:25 PM:

    I agree with Jon, the certain defeat in the Senate allows TeaPartynuts to vote against Boner with the knowledge that they'll puff up their nut base and won't have to answer for killing the economy. But once again the Dems have telegraphed their play and that has not worked out for them in these "negotiations".

  • G.Kerby on July 28, 2011 2:25 PM:

    Can't the Senate just dispatch Boner, instead of his bill ?

  • dr. bloor on July 28, 2011 2:26 PM:

    Boehner is demanding nearly $2 trillion in CUTS TO SS, Medicare and Medicaid over the next SIX MONTHS!

    Why hasn't this been the headline anywhere?

    That's not quite right. The cuts would need to be identified in the next six months, not implemented.

  • KC on July 28, 2011 2:28 PM:

    Dems in Congress do not care about SS, Medicare, or Medicaid. Well, some do, but not that many. After all, if they cared, they'd be screaming about the cuts to those programs and so would the President.

  • JS on July 28, 2011 2:29 PM:

    The top issue for these nuttahs that swept into office on the Tea Party platform is that they would NEVER, EVER ALLOW THE DEBT CEILING TO BE RAISED. (pardon my all caps)

    So they're really going on the record voting to raise the debt ceiling, and invite their own, Stronger Tea Party challenger for a bill that is dead to the Senate already? I knew the TeePees were stupid, but I thought it was dumb in the 'don't believe in Science' way, not that they were idiots politically.

    Pelosi would have killed to maneuver these rubes into this vote if she still had her NANCY SMASH! gavel, and they're doing it voluntarily.

  • PNW on July 28, 2011 2:35 PM:

    "Dems in Congress do not care about SS, Medicare, or Medicaid. Well, some do, but not that many. After all, if they cared, they'd be screaming about the cuts to those programs and so would the President."

    You're getting close to something here, KC.

  • DTTM on July 28, 2011 2:39 PM:


    Could someone help me out here on Senate rules. 58 are against Boehner, not the magic 60. What can prevent a filibuster to table the bill? Everyone says a filibuster is no threat to tabling, and thus killing, Boehner's bill. Why?

  • Johnny Canuck on July 28, 2011 2:56 PM:

    table, motion to - A Senator may move to table any pending question. The motion is not debatable, and agreement to the motion is equivalent to defeating the question tabled. The motion is used to dispose quickly of questions the Senate does not wish to consider further.

    It is the nondebatable part that clinches it- a filibuster is the continuation of a debatable motion to prevent a vote happening

  • filabuster on July 28, 2011 3:09 PM:

    @DTTM

    Civics class, how does that work??

    Google, how does that work??

  • DTTM on July 28, 2011 3:58 PM:

    @Johnny Canuck
    Thanks, was unclear on tabling rules re 60 votes
    @ filabuster
    Why are you so angry? I hope you are this not gratuitously hostile to people you have to interact with in the real world, not the internet world.

  • martin on July 28, 2011 4:19 PM:

    This clarity should also remind House Republicans that they’re sticking their necks out, voting for a right-wing plan that will fail later tonight, even if it passes the House.

    It should also remind House Blue Dogs that there is nothing to be gained by siding with the Republicans as usual.

    naonlyst axes indeed Mr Captcha

  • Texas Aggie on July 28, 2011 4:32 PM:

    "Boehner seems to believe Dems are somehow bluffing"

    Why do you say that? He knows that his program doesn't have a chance, so he can put anything in it he wants and then blame the Democrats for blocking it. That way he doesn't run the risk of being responsible for the biologically processed horse feed in it and the disaster it would create, but does get credit with the TPs for being head banging crazy.

  • Crackman on July 28, 2011 4:34 PM:

    What Obama should do is tell Bone-her that beginning August 1 I will begin drawing down the troops from harm's way since there will not be enough money available to protect them and the beloved JesusLand and do it. He's got carriers in the area for protection. Betcha he'll get a clean voice vote extension

  • Daoud on July 28, 2011 4:39 PM:

    What Obama should do is tell Bone-her that beginning August 1 I will begin drawing down the troops from harm's way since there will not be enough money available to protect them and the beloved JesusLand and do it. He's got carriers in the area for protection. Betcha he'll get a clean voice vote extension"
    ------
    Are you speaking of Libya?

  • DTTM on July 28, 2011 6:23 PM:

    @ 00Buck

    Thanks for your supporting words. I consider myself a moderate person in all my decisions, and am always frustrated by needless internet anonymous ball-busting.
    The internet is crucial for the exchange of ideas, but it is the anonymous drive by shooting aspect of it that will cause people to turn away, rather than encourage engagement and learning.

    As in civics class.

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