House Speaker John Boehner today on the Rush Limbaugh show adamantly insisted leaks of a backdoor budget deal are inaccurate. Boehner said he stands firmly by the plan the House passed Monday — “Cut, Cap and Balance” — and any discussions of backup plans have been just that … discussions of backup plans.
“Well, Rush, there is no deal,” Boehner said. “No deal publicly. No deal privately. There is absolutely no deal … Our focus right now is getting the Senate to follow us in the House and pass Cut, Cap and Balance. I believe that we’ve got to act to prevent a default and to prevent a downgrade of our nation’s credit rating, and the best way to do that is to enact Cut, Cap and Balance. But let me be clear: I believe that is the best course of action. I’ve said all the way along that we’ve gotta keep the lines of communication open. That’s why Leader Cantor and I have talked with Mitch McConnell. We’ve talked to Nancy Pelosi. We’ve talked to the president. We talked about fallback options if in fact Cut, Cap and Balance does go down; and I do think it’s our obligation to have a fallback plan if that doesn’t work.”
The Senate will vote on Cut, Cap and Balance tomorrow. All along, conventional wisdom has suggested the bill will die in the Senate, at which point the “Gang of Six” plan will assume added importance for the future. But as Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, explained on Fox News this morning, serious flaws exist in the “Gang of Six” series of talking points.
Cut, Cap and Balance remains the only serious plan on the table and its passage might not be quite so impossible as folks like to think. The legislation already has significant pledged support among Republicans in the Senate and a Senate source says the vote tomorrow will be on a “motion to table” rather than a “motion to proceed” — which means it will only need 51 votes instead of 60. That means the bill would require the support of just four Democrats if all 47 Republicans hold firm.
It shouldn’t be too hard to find four D’s — not if Democrats know what’s good for them, electorally-speaking. A new CNN poll shows 66 percent of Americans support Cut, Cap and Balance. Here’s the best part of the poll: It breaks down the responses by age, gender, race, income, education, political affiliation, political views and more. Cut, Cap and Balance receives majority support from every single category –- even people who self-describe as liberals, Democrats and anti-Tea Party.
The Senate vote on the plan just might shift momentum away from the president and toward the House plan — either because enough Democrats will support the legislation and it will pass or because its failure will reveal the utter unwillingness of the Senate to act on the plan the House has put forward — an unwillingness that is especially significant in light of the fact that the Senate hasn’t forwarded a plan of its own in a timely enough manner to meet the Aug. 2 deadline.