Can Boehner’s Plan Pass The House? Don’t Be So Sure
In his speech last night, House Speaker John Boehner presented the picture of a House GOP united by the plan he presented yesterday, but the reality appears to be far different. Almost immediately after the plan came out, there were already Members of Congress coming out against it:
The chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee wasted little time announcing his opposition to the House GOP leadership’s two-step plan to raise the debt ceiling.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who stood — visibly uncomfortable — next to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during Monday’s announcement of the plan, released a statement saying he would vote “no” on the measure.
“While I thank the Speaker for fighting for Republican principles, I cannot support the plan that was presented to House Republicans this afternoon,” Jordan said.
Conservative lawmakers Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) also came out against Boehner’s plan.
Jordan argued that his leadership team should stand behind a measure that the House approved on a party-line vote last week — the “cut, cap and balance” bill that failed in the Senate.
“The credit rating agencies have been clear that no matter what happens with the debt limit, the U.S. will lose its AAA credit rating unless we produce a credible plan to reduce the debt by trillions of dollars. Cut, Cap, and Balance is the only plan on the table that meets this standard. Only a Balanced Budget Amendment will actually solve our debt problems,” Jordan stated.
Over on the Senate side, Tea Party slatwart Jim DeMint rejected both the Reid and Boehner plans:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is dismissing new debt plans put forward by both Democrats and Republicans, saying neither “take our debt crisis seriously.”
The Tea Party favorite maintained Monday that both plans to raise the debt limit while tackling the deficit are insufficient, and that he will actively oppose them, as well as invite a downgrade to the nation’s credit rating.
The rating agencies have insisted that the government craft a credible plan to rein in the deficit, lest its top AAA credit rating be knocked down.
“Instead of serious reforms, both punt the hard decisions,” DeMint said in a statement. “By competing with Democrats to create a better political debt deal, instead of a debt solution, Republicans are playing a lose-lose game. This is bad policy and bad politics.”
A coalition of Tea Party chapters and conservative lawmakers on Monday rejected the debt proposal put forward by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), despite his efforts to sweeten the deal with provisions favored by his conservative base.
The Cut, Cap, Balance Coalition, which boasts hundreds of Tea Party groups and more than 100 GOP lawmakers in its membership, is citing two provisions in Boehner’s proposal that amount to deal-breakers: its call for creating a Congressional Commission and its inclusion of a balanced budget amendment that, according to the group, is only for show.
“A symbolic vote on a balanced budget amendment at some later time minimizes its importance, as it will not be tied to an increase in the debt ceiling,” reads a statement from the coalition. “A BBA that allows a tax increase with anything less than a 2/3 supermajority is not a serious measure.”
Conservatives were also rubbed the wrong way by Boehner’s inclusion of a “Super Congress” in his plan. The new commission, composed of 12 members from both parties and both chambers, would be granted extraordinary new powers to fast-track legislation through both chambers without it being amended. The commission would be tasked with finding a minimum amount of spending cuts before Congress could proceed to a second increase in the debt ceiling next year.
“History has shown that such commissions, while well-intentioned, make it easier to raise taxes than to institute enduring budget reforms,” reads the coalition’s statement.
With this kind of opposition shaping up, it’s entirely conceivable that at least 25 House GOPers could vote no on Boehner’s plan. Meaning that, without Democratic support that seems unlikely, it would not get the majority required to pass. How likely is that? It’s hard to tell, but the House GOP causes, especially its Tea Party wing, seems to be becoming more radicalized the closer we get to the debt ceiling deadline. Unless Boehner keeps his caucus unified despite the voices urging them to oppose the plan, its entirely possible he’ll roll the dice on a roll call vote and lose. In which case all bets are off.