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Morning After Bill Roundup: Does Speaker Boehner Have A "Plan C?"

by: countrycat

Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:12:00 AM CST


President Clinton was right: Republicans don't seem to understand even simple arithmetic - like counting votes. The House of Representatives had a meltdown last night when Republicans refused to support Speaker Boehner's "Plan B" budget proposal.  Republican meltdown

Not that any of this should bother Democrats: "Plan B" was a lousy proposal that protected the wealthy at the expense of the Middle Class.  Even loading it up with bright shiny objects like 

GOP intransigence has just given President Obama an even stronger negotiating hand: let's hope he plays to win. 

A few tidbits of media reaction....

New York Times

The point of the Boehner effort was to secure passage of a Republican plan, then demand that the president and the Senate to take up that measure and pass it, putting off the major fights until early next year when Republicans would conceivably have more leverage because of the need to increase the federal debt limit.
[...]
That strategy lay in tatters after the Republican implosion.“Some people don’t know how to take yea for an answer,” said Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a Republican who supported the measure and was open about his disappointment with his colleagues.

The Washington Post

Kelly, who finally came around to supporting the plan, was incredulous, according to Republicans in the room. As others headed for the door, Kelly raced to the front of the room and grabbed the microphone.

“Really,” he screamed, according to Republicans. “We can’t support our speaker?”

Los Angeles Times

Any compromise will need substantial Democratic support. Although the president needs the speaker to allow legislation to come to a vote in the GOP-controlled House, Boehner emerges in a weakened position and has little leverage to demand further concessions. His Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), will need to decide whether to become a final line of defense against Obama or step aside for a Democratic-led plan.
[...]
The Boehner bill excluded other expiring provisions, including college and child tax credits, first approved under Obama in 2009. That meant that Plan B would have raised taxes on low- and moderate-income households that claim those credits.

It's looking more and more likely that there will be a leadership fight when the House reconvenes - assuming Boehner even wants the job of Speaker again.

If nothing else, this is going to be fun to watch.

 

countrycat :: Morning After Bill Roundup: Does Speaker Boehner Have A "Plan C?"
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Behind the scenes look from the National Review (0.00 / 0)

is especially telling.  Costs doesn't sugarcoat the divisions in the party and hard feelings this non-vote has caused.

Inside the Meltdown

Boehner’s friends were shocked, and voiced their disappointment so the speaker’s foes could hear. “My buddies and I said the same thing to each other,” a Boehner ally told me later. “We looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and just groaned. This is a disaster.”
[...]
A few of Boehner’s critics told Kelly to stop lecturing, but most were silent. They had been battling against “Plan B” all week, and quite suddenly, they had crippled the leadership.
[...]
“I don’t want to talk to the people who ruined this, at least right now,” a retiring House member told me. “They don’t get it.” Another senior member told me that Boehner was always going to struggle with the whip count since most House conservatives have little interest in seeing the speaker strike any kind of deal. “Boehner was trying to play chess and the caucus was playing checkers,” he said, sighing. “Boehner is willing to lose a pawn for a queen. I’m not sure about the rest.”
[...]
But when conservatives, over and over again, refused to budge, Boehner personally decided to end the entire thing and pull it from the floor. If he didn’t have the support of his conference on his own plan, he’d walk away. He’d leave the fiscal cliff in the hands of Democrats. Boehner had spent weeks negotiating with his members and the president. But in this final hour, when he needed Republicans most, he had only a prayer.

 



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




Symptom of a problem (0.00 / 0)

I'm not a Republican, but this is a problem I've been noticing from both parties recently.

In the olden days (ha!), members of Congress drafted bills and tried to get co-sponsors for them. Then the bill came up for discussion, both in committee and on the floor.  People were allowed to propose amendments to the bill.  In this way, Congress as a whole "wrote the bill", and in the process of getting the bill passed built the consensus.

These days, however, the leadership decides what bills will look like.  Whether or not discussion is allowed, amendments are simply not allowed (Boehner does this, and so does Reid with his "filling the tree" to prevent GOP amendments being proposed).  They tell their members they have to "be loyal" and "support the leadership" no matter what their personal convictions are on the subject.  When discussions are held with the other party to reach a compromise, only the leadership is involved, and they tell their members to support the deal they strike.

That method leads to moments like this one.  The leadership drafted a bill that the GOP membership couldn't support, so they lost the vote.  This has happened in recent years to the Democrats, as well... though they're usually smart enough not to bring it to a vote if they don't have the numbers to pass it.  But this top-down drafting of laws being forced onto members of Congress isn't the way things are supposed to be, nor is it a healthy way to conduct business.

It's a heck of a way to run a railroad, and I personally believe that the leadership of both parties need to stop doing it.  They won't... but they should.

 



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