[T]he opposition bloc led by [Jim] Jordan appears to be crumbling, as leadership’s message seems to be sinking in. Sources tells NRO that a number of members who were confirmed no votes against the Boehner plan announced during the meeting that they would be voting yes. One of those members, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R., Texas) told reporters that while he would like to “snap my fingers and change the world like ‘I Dream of Genie’ of Samantha on ‘Bewitched,’” Republicans “need to take what we can get.”…
Even Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.), a prominent conservative with a history of voting against leadership, said he was undecided, but seemed to indicate that he could ultimately support the plan, calling it “an important first step toward fiscal discipline and reform.”…
Members will be presented with an updated draft of the plan later this afternoon, with a vote tentatively scheduled for Thursday. GOP aides won’t predict whether or not they have the votes to pass the plan, but acknowledge things are moving in the right direction. Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), however, said he thought the plan would pass. Tea-party favorite Allen West (R., Fla.), who supports the plan, said he might be willing to bet his retirement check on it.
Politico has quotes from other Republican freshmen who are softening on the bill. Maybe they could have held out if a few things had broken differently, but between (a) the risk of economic catastrophe from hitting the ceiling, (b) the broken caucus that would have resulted from defeating its own leader’s plan in a high-stakes showdown with Obama, (c) the political cover to vote yes provided by “true conservative” favorites like West, Ryan, Fred Thompson, and John Bolton (even Pence is on the fence), and (d) the backlash against Jim Jordan after one of his staffers allegedly tried to gin up outside pressure on other Republicans, I guess the choice here ended up being easier than thought. In fact, I wonder if Hoyer played into Boehner’s hands a bit by insisting that zero Democrats will vote for Boehner’s bill. He has to play it that way to make things as difficult as possible for the GOP, of course, since that’ll improve the Reid bill’s chances of passage, but he could have done so quietly. If House conservatives were led to believe that some Blue Dogs might vote with Boehner, it would have eased the new “circle the wagons” mindset and maybe encouraged more of them to hold out. Instead, thanks to Obama’s veto threat and the prospect of a unified Democratic opposition, the caucus is facing a “vote against Boehner is a vote for Reid” dilemma. Not much of a dilemma, really. As it is, one House source tells NRO’s Robert Costa that the final vote might not even be close.
Ironically, Boehner may also benefit from delaying the vote by a day in order to rework his bill after its disappointing CBO score. The market was down 199 points today, its biggest drop in almost two months; GOP fencesitters might dismiss that as a standard blip, but I encourage you to read this Megan McArdle post recounting her chat with Wall Street sources about why the market hasn’t tanked yet. It’s not because they think hitting the ceiling is no big deal, it’s because they think it’s such an enormously big deal that they simply can’t believe Congress will let it happen, even at this late hour. (And yeah, it’s true that we won’t default on August 2nd — even Carney now admits that — but the sudden drop in government outlays after we prioritize payments to creditors would still be a blow to the economy. Just ask Paul Ryan.) Can’t wait to see their reaction if Boehner’s bill ends up tanking after all.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s Reid insisting that Boehner’s bill doesn’t have a prayer in the Senate. Let’s see what he says on Friday, if/when JB’s bill has passed the House and Reid’s bill has died in the Senate. Exit quotation from Mike Crapo, commenting on the sudden surge of Republican support for Boehner: “It looks like they are going to have the votes to get it through.”
Update: Sorry, pasted the wrong video clip below. Here’s Reid.