Boehner Bill To Be Amended To Please Tea Party, Thus Making It Totally Irrelevant

John Boehner's debt ceiling plan is being amended. And not in a good way.

John Boehner has found a way to get his debt ceiling bill through the House of Representatives, and it involves making the bill even more irrelevant:

House Republican leaders plan to tie a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to their two-step debt-ceiling bill — a move that is turning momentum back toward Speaker John Boehner’s plan.

Several GOP conservatives had held back their support for Boehner’s bill because they wanted the balanced budget amendment provision included. It was the main point of contention in Thursday night’s talks between GOP leaders and the holdouts.

The new provision would require a vote before the debt-ceiling could be raised for a second time in February.

The approach contrasts with President Barack Obama’s calls Friday morning for a “bipartisan” approach, as Washington nears the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt limit.

“What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan,” Obama said at the White House Friday, saying the two parties “aren’t miles apart” and in “rough agreement” on plan with some modifications.

Boehner’s approach appears to be winning new support in the House; the speaker told his conference he woke up happy.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said the balanced budget provision has flipped his vote, and he predicted it will help bring many other members onto the bill – Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said he was a now ‘yes.’ Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said “liked what I’m hearing so far,” though he reserved final judgment until he’s seen the language.

“Let’s go vote 100 percent for this bill,” Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, one of the last holdouts, urged his colleagues, according to a source inside a closed-door House GOP conference meeting.

“That’s the difference” Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) said, predicting the provision will secure the bill’s package.

Of course what this means is that bill is even deader on arrival in the Senate than it was before. More importantly, it shows just how irrelevant the Tea Party has made itself in this debate. Making an increase in the debt ceiling contingent on the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment is idiotic. It’s never going to happen, they know its never going to happen, I’m sure John Boehner has already told them that it’s never going to happen. This is no longer a serious bill, it is Cut. Cap, and Balance 2.0. It will pass the House, but it contributes absolutely nothing to the resolution of this crisis.

Rush Limbaugh and the dittoheads are probably happy about this (I wouldn’t know I haven’t listened to him in years) but for the most part the 25 holdouts in the House GOP have just made their entire caucus irrelevant.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. mattb says:

    More importantly, it shows just how irrelevant the Tea Party has made itself in this debate. … Rush Limbaugh and the dittoheads are probably happy about this (I wouldn’t know I haven’t listened to him in years) but for the most part the 25 holdouts in the House GOP have just made their entire caucus irrelevant.


    Can you explain this? Sadly, their fundamental unwillingness to compromise (beyond the idea that approving a debt ceiling raise on their terms is the only act of compromise that they are willing to agree to), coupled with their threat of “primarying” any (sane) Republican house member who blinks, and their (implicit) threat to remove Bohner from the speakership, means that they are the most relevant party in this debate (at least until the moderate Republicans are willing to let them go, risk losing their seats, and go with the Democrats).

    Sadly, I wonder if the only thing that will give those moderates cover is the beginnings of a financial collapse/market run.

  2. Liberty60 says:

    In order for them to be irrelevant, another faction has to actually assume control of the steering wheel and make a compromise agreement with the Democratic Senate.

    If theirs is the last word, and we enter default, or worse, if the Dems blink and pass CC&B then they are pretty damn relevant.

    Mad as hatters, but relevant.

  3. I have to agree: if all of this leads to a failure to raise the debt ceiling, then the Tea Party factions has made themselves painfully relevant.

  4. hey norm says:

    I think what happens is that the Senate will take up the House Bill…promptly defeat it…then amend it to re-make it as a version of the Reid Bill…and send it back to the House. Back in the House the Democrats and the few remaining sane Republicans can get together and pass it.
    Failing that, I think Obama should just say screw-it, and go with the 14th Amendment Option.
    Boy-howdy the Sunday Morning shows should be full of finger-pointing and rationalizing and utter BS this week.

  5. ponce says:

    The Republican bill may be idiotic, but it will probably win a majority in the House.

    That’s kinda sad.

  6. MBunge says:

    “Rush Limbaugh and the dittoheads are probably happy about this”

    I just heard Rush come about against the new version of Boehner’s bill because, and I’m not making this up, it wouldn’t specifically prevent Congress from raising any taxes for any reason at any point in the future. Seriously.


  7. hey norm says:

    Note that if my outline/prediction above is how this ends…then we will end up with some spending cuts, and a weakly authorized commission, and debts that will continue to rise. (Along with a debt ceiling increase of course.)
    In the process of all this the Republicans have said no to significant – historical – debt reduction legislation. And for what?

  8. PJ says:

    Maybe, just maybe there are some teahadists who actually are stalling to make sure that there won’t be a vote to raise the debt ceiling. Maybe these teahadists want a default?

  9. MBunge says:

    A weird thing that I’m seeing is an assumption by many that there’s some compromise to be made between the Boehner and Reid bills that can eventually pass Congress. People seem to think that once the Dems sign onto a debt limit increase in the Senate, it will be easy to line up enough Dems and Reps in the House to pass it. But the guiding principle of the GOP House is to exclusively pass legislation with Republican votes. Nothing that comes out of the Senate is going to get that, which means that even if ever single House Dem supports the compromise, 24 Republicans have to vote for it too. Who are those guys going to be in this climate?


  10. Guthrum says:

    The American working people do not care which party it is, they just want to be able to keep more of their hard earned money instead of the governments (Fed, state, local) taking more.
    They are tired of the government taking money and giving it away:
    to the military for more “toys”: the B52, B1, B2 are plenty to take care of any tin horn dictator, they don’t need another bomber. No more US involvement in wars in crazy countries.
    The army can go to Staples and Home Depot for supplies instead of paying $300 for a hammer.
    Money for silly, useless grants: study on why children fall off of tricycles; for ex.
    Foreign aid
    Welfare: food stamps, subsidized housing, free lunch, etc.
    Aid to illegal immigrants
    Agencies that over regulate and cost taxpayers/businesses money (EPA, Dept. of Ed.)
    Tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations that middle class people don’t get
    If people want to contribute to the above, that is fine with me; they can even write it off as charity. Working people should not have their hard earned money taken.
    This is what the whole deal is about.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Guthram serves as a shining example of one of the big problems with this whole debate…if many people believe that the problem with the budget is that too much money is being spent on foreign aid, “silly, useless grants”, welfare, “aid to illegal immigrants” and agencies that supposedly overregulate, no wonder we’re in so much trouble…

  12. Michael says:

    I have to agree: if all of this leads to a failure to raise the debt ceiling, then the Tea Party factions has made themselves painfully relevant.

    I think he meant they are now irrelevant on the issue of governing. Up until now, Boehner had two choices, either a bill would be conservative enough that his entire party would vote for it, or moderate enough that some Democrats would vote for it. Now that the Tea Party has shown themselves unwilling to support a bill moderate enough to actually become law, the only bills that can be passed are those moderate enough to gain Democratic votes in the House.

  13. anjin-san says:

    Working people should not have their hard earned money taken

    Cool. When you agree to stop using public roads and disconnect your home from the public sewer system get back to us and we will take you seriously.

  14. Xenos says:

    @anjin-san: He should agree to house, indefinitely, any elderly, sick, or disabled relatives. His drug addicted nephew needs a place to crash, and all these people need him to provide money for health care, too.

    A well-moderated welfare state can produce a tremendous amount of liberty. My grandfather was well-to-do during the depression, but the crazy relatives, including his own parents, that he had to support and live with really undermined his happiness and personal well-being.