Boehner: We, er, don’t have the votes — yet; Update: 25 Republicans leaning no? Update: Boehner still short as of 4 p.m.

posted at 3:50 pm on July 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

He can afford to lose 23 Republicans, I believe. Number of Republicans leaning or confirmed no as of 2 p.m.: 22.

As much as the left hates having to make token concessions on spending, a GOP meltdown on the House floor tonight would be be a mighty fine consolation prize.

House Speaker John Boehner continued to lobby fellow Republicans to back his debt bill Thursday, telling members at a closed-door meeting, “We don’t have the votes yet,” according to a Republican in the room. But he added, “Today is the day we’re going to get it passed.”

As part of that lobbying effort, House GOP leaders agreed to add a last minute sweetener for conservatives who have been pushing for a balanced budget amendment to ensure future spending cuts actually happen.

House Republicans plan to have a pair of votes Friday on two versions of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. One version, if adopted by the states, would require that the government maintain a balanced budget. The other version, one that conservatives have long been pushing, would also require a supermajority vote in both chambers to approve any tax increases.

The supermajority requirement on tax hikes cinched it for Mike Pence, who’s now a yes. Nearly 30 of the GOP’s 87 freshmen also announced today that they’re backing Boehner, so momentum is with the leadership. Just one question: Er, what happens if Reid makes good on his threat to kill Boehner’s bill in its crib tonight?

No one knows:

“We’re going to put all this at the doorstep of Harry Reid,” Rep. John Fleming (R-FL) told reporters Thursday. I asked whether Boehner had prepared caucus members for the possibility that they’ll have to grapple with yet another compromise — this one between Boehner’s bill and a similar plan Reid wrote himself.

“No, no discussion about that at all,” Fleming said.

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) — a conservative supporter of Boehner plan — says Republicans are looking no farther than Thursday’s vote. “The bottom line is this: What happens after this really depends on Harry Reid, and hopefully they get beyond the do-nothing aspect that they have shown in my time since I’ve been up here, and they move on this.”

So Boehner’s strategy, I take it, is to win this vote by the skin of his teeth, then be forced into some sort of compromise with Reid after the bill dies in the Senate, and then sell the new, even more watered-down bill to House conservatives who are already groaning about having to line up behind Boehner? Unless there’s a market panic tomorrow, how does he win that vote? And Reid’s strategy, as I understand it, is to convince Boehner not to waste precious time by moving ahead with this vote since the bill’s doomed anyway — even though that sort of public ultimatum is guaranteed to force Boehner’s hand and nudge House Republicans into rallying behind him, with the GOP then sure to blame Reid’s rejectionism as the true stumbling block to an economy-saving deal. Huh.

Whether intentionally or not, though, Reid’s ultimatum gives Boehner a face-saving excuse if it turns out he can’t get to 218 before the vote. Having to yank the bill because his own caucus won’t support it would be a catastrophic embarrassment. Having to yank the bill because those damned Democrats in the Senate refuse to agree to a short-term deal that’s politically inconvenient for Obama is simply bowing to political reality. Boehner’s been meeting one on one with reluctant Republicans all day; if 5 p.m. rolls around and he doesn’t have the votes, he’ll pull it and then say he had no choice because there isn’t enough time left before August 2 to push bills that have no hope of becoming law. Which brings us back to the “what then?” question posed above.

Here he is at today’s presser. Exit question: Can we all agree, at least, that the S&P’s influence on our little national crisis is way, way greater than it should be? Whether you think they’ve been too pessimistic or not pessimistic enough, given their track record, why should we care what they think?

Update: Things are in flux and votes may (and probably will) change, but Think Progress’s whip count finds 25 Republicans leaning or confirmed no. That leaves Boehner two votes short and there are no House Democrats who are budging.

Update: National Journal still counts just 22 GOP no’s. And even better for Boehner, because of Democratic absences, he only needs to get to 216 for a majority, which means he can lose 24 Republicans and still win.

Update: A Twitter pal notes that Boehner won’t need tea party votes on a compromise bill with Reid since he’ll pick up Democratic votes on that one too. Absolutely; I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. But House progressives will peel off on that one in all likelihood and there aren’t many Blue Dogs left, so Boehner may yet need a few conservatives to join moderate Republicans in pushing him over the top. Can he get them? With the default deadline bearing down, yeah, probably.

Update: The Hill files a new story at 4:08 p.m.: Boehner’s still short.

There are 22 House Republicans who will vote no or are leaning no, according to The Hill’s whip count. There are more than three dozen Republicans who are publicly undecided, and 12 of them said or suggested on Thursday that they are still on the fence.

Boehner and his top lieutenants were scrambling for votes Thursday in anticipation of this evening’s vote, expected at around 6 p.m…

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told reporters he was still leaning no on the bill and questioned whether it would be the GOP’s last chance to influence the debt limit debate. He speculated that the Senate could send Reid’s measure back to the House, which he said was similar to Boehner’s proposal, and then the House could attach a clean balanced budget amendment and send it back to the Senate.

Maybe Reid’s ultimatum convinced fencesitters that there’s no point taking a tough vote for a bill that’s destined to die anyway, whatever the consequences may be for Boehner’s prestige. Anyone want to start a pool on what time, precisely, we’ll hear that Boehner is pulling the bill from the floor?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

This is great if true. Now, the House can tell the Senate that they are sticking with CCB so CCB should become the new negotiating point.

blink on July 28, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I hope you’re right. Sadly, based on the demonstrated size of Boehner’s seeds, I fear you are incorrect.

fossten on July 28, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Bachmann gives the same answer Palin gave to what does she read:

RealClearScott Scott Conroy
Bachmann: “I’m a big reader and I read everything.”
3 hours ago

unseen on July 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Is Palin on record about whether Boehner should be ousted?

FloatingRock on July 28, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Has Bachmann even voted?

idesign on July 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Is Palin on record about whether Boehner should be ousted?

FloatingRock on July 28, 2011 at 5:34 PM

I don’t know. don’t think she was every asked. but you could use bing and find out.

unseen on July 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Almost worn out my mute button this afternoon muting Democrats especially the Botox minority leader who is up now — she looks horrible and I am not about to listen to her voice.

Hope you all heard Mike Pence’s speech — he gave the reasons why this bill has to be supported and it is up on You Tube. Anyone voting against this bill from either party is pretty clueless. This is not the time to make a statement and Mike Pence says why.

PhiKapMom on July 28, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Add that to the pool announcing the Boehner is stepping down as Speaker.

michaelo on July 28, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I hope he fails.

james23 on July 28, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Why can’t someone have the guts to propose cutting social security, medicare and medicaid by 15%, and eliminating food stamps and unemployment? That is the only way to recover.

Vashta.Nerada on July 28, 2011 at 5:25 PM

It would be immoral to do that before cutting all federal headcount, salaries and benefits at least the same amount. Your cuts are to subsistence level benefits, federal salaries are above average salaries by any measure.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2011 at 5:46 PM

JohnInCA on July 28, 2011 at 5:16 PM

We’re on the same page. I don’t mind seeing Boehner’s bill pass. I just think Reid already has his moves planned out and there isn’t enough time left for much wiggle. Taking Obama down in 2012 is the over-riding objective for me. Don’t care how it gets done and if going through this exercise again in an election year helps that effort, I’m for it.

a capella on July 28, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Bachmann gives the same answer Palin gave to what does she read:

RealClearScott Scott Conroy
Bachmann: “I’m a big reader and I read everything.”
3 hours ago

unseen on July 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Good, it’s a stupid question.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2011 at 5:48 PM

I just hate that we didn’t have a strong candidate to blow that dirty little pipsqueak Reid out of the Senate once and for all. He and President Demagogue probably have already worked out some kind of sleazy underhanded plan and are plotting on ramming it through just like the health care bill.

scalleywag on July 28, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Good, it’s a stupid question.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2011 at 5:48 PM

agreed but this means bachmann doesn’t read. correct?

unseen on July 28, 2011 at 5:53 PM

I hope he fails.

james23 on July 28, 2011 at 5:45 PM

I hope they all fail. their failure means my freedom.

unseen on July 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

It would be immoral to do that before cutting all federal headcount, salaries and benefits at least the same amount. Your cuts are to subsistence level benefits, federal salaries are above average salaries by any measure.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2011 at 5:46 PM

We are running a $1.6 trillion deficit. Cutting all federal salaries to zero won’t budge that number.

Vashta.Nerada on July 28, 2011 at 5:58 PM

I guess I’m lost…what does this post have to do with what kind of stuff Bachmann and Palin read? Or don’t read?

scalleywag on July 28, 2011 at 5:58 PM

I heard Bart Stupak is available to be bribed for his vote.

Huckabye-Romney on July 28, 2011 at 5:59 PM

postponed. super!

scalleywag on July 28, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I’ll say it AGAIN! (yall should be TOO)

Simple GOP solution … Double the terms of the CCB and send it back to the Senate. Every time it fails double it again.

The “no planners” will only wish for the original back. Don’t let that happen. The backup baseline room for negotiations is 25% of the last one sent.

Katfish on July 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Amen to that! I said the same thing on another thread. When negotiating from a position of power, use that power.

All the Whino’s on here seem to have forgot that CCB WAS a compromise. Send a non-compromise next and let the Dems choose between CCB or even deeper cuts. Do it again if that one gets tabled. All the while saying “You began with a reasonable bill and you can still go with that.”

This whole Boehner plan only works if the next bill is “more extreme” than the first one. Watering it down just helps the Dems and hurts the nation.

Pattosensei on July 28, 2011 at 6:18 PM

I agree that we should have stuck with CCB and not regarded Democratic Senate and Presidential intransigence as a reason to, in effect, start negotiating against ourselves.

This is why I thought that Boehner was a garbage pick back in January.

Nothing has changed.

Ditto for McConnell.

These guys are only as conservative as they are (not much) because of Tea Party members and their popularity with millions of other people like me.

Boehner and McConnell should, at this point, represent the history of the GOP and not its current leadership.

Reasons number 875 and 876 why I no longer trust the GOP.

molonlabe28 on July 28, 2011 at 6:18 PM

The irony is that even if Boehner gets this dreadful bill through the House, the Democrats unwittingly could be doing the nation a favor the by blocking it in the Senate.

MaiDee on July 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM

No matter what happens….remeber how boner has treated us. Remember how willing he was to “compromise” by raising the debt-ceiling for some flim-flam “future cut’s” and a token this year.

Not only did he not address the problem….he crafted a bill to give both Rep’s AND Dem’s political cover…..and the dem’s have promised to redline even that.

Is boner’s vision your vision? Is this what you want from your party – particularly those of you who worked so hard during the midterms?

We better damn-well pin a Scarlet Letter on this a-hole – a pox on your future political career boner….you fake-tanned-squish….Conservatives NEVER (EVER) forget….and that goes for all of you House squish’s backing the dope too.

Tim_CA on July 28, 2011 at 7:25 PM

The irony is that even if Boehner gets this dreadful bill through the House, the Democrats unwittingly could be doing the nation a favor the by blocking it in the Senate.

MaiDee on July 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM

No, they will add a poison pill to end it but then blame it on the Repubs. They will water it down and Boehner will cave because he wants to cave and keep the status quo as much as he can!

bluemarlin on July 28, 2011 at 11:31 PM

So Boehner’s strategy, I take it, is to win this vote by the skin of his teeth, then be forced into some sort of compromise with Reid after the bill dies in the Senate, and then sell the new, even more watered-down bill to House conservatives who are already groaning about having to line up behind Boehner? Unless there’s a market panic tomorrow, how does he win that vote?

Answer: House Democrats… + once u sell u’r Tea Party Soul… Water down bills go down smooth as chocolate milk from a RINO’s tit…

This deal/strategy by Boehner has been clear to me since the day(Tuesday 07/19/11) after CCB passed…. Boehner thought passing CCB would be enough of a show vote for Tea Partiers to let them throw away the REASON why they got elected in the first place for some future promise of CCB which wont be necessary according to RINO’s if they win on 2012 cause grownups will be in charge now… Making CCB unnecessary…

Boehner is almost there… Boehner is 2-3 votes away from passing Boehner 1.1 which will make the water down bill get thru Congress (House & Senate) like exploding diarrhea… That was his plan all along…

Y314K on July 29, 2011 at 2:05 AM

Reid says, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

I think I’ve heard that before somewhere.
{+_+}

herself on July 29, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3