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.
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….
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.
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?”
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.