New Boehner bill likely to pass the House …

posted at 12:45 pm on July 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I know I’ll get called a candy-ass RINO for pointing out the obvious, but this morning’s revisions to the once-revised Boehner bill gave it life in the House while extinguishing what little chance it had in the Senate.  The new requirement to pass the Republican version of the Balanced Budget Amendment for the second tranche of the debt-ceiling increase — not to call a floor vote, but a requirement for passage — amounts to a poison pill that gives Harry Reid all of the excuse he needs to kill this latest version as soon as it gets out of the house.

Bryan Preston notes the change in the bill, but asks a slanted question:

It adds a Balanced Budget Amendment as a prerequisite for passing the next round of debt ceiling increase. As many as 20 Democratic Senators have said in the past that they support a BBA. Was that all talk and posturing to appear moderate, or did they mean it?

The Senate Democrats in question supported the idea of a balanced-budget amendment, not the Republican version that this bill requires, and to pretend otherwise is sophistry.  I like the Republican version much better than the concept the Democrats rhetorically supported, of course, because it includes hard caps on spending tied to GDP.  It’s certainly worth bringing to the House floor for a vote, if for no other reason than to get Democrats on the record on whether to enforce balance in the budget. It’s not going to get two-thirds in the House, however, let alone this Senate.

By including it as a requirement to trigger the next debt-ceiling increase, it puts us right back in the same position we find ourselves in at the moment.  Senate Democrats may have offered general support for the concept of a balanced budget amendment, but they have been specific about rejecting any bill that requires passage of one to get a debt-ceiling hike.  All of the Senate Democrats voted to table the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act for that very reason, which already made the GOP’s point.  What’s the point of doing it again?

Let’s not forget one important fact on this point: as Speaker, Boehner can call a vote on a BBA pretty much whenever he likes.  He has to get 2/3rds majority in order to pass it to the Senate.  Since the likelihood of that is zero, why require the Senate to vote on it at all, let alone key other legislation to its full passage?  Why not just call a vote on it now?

So why did Boehner make the change?  I suspect it has more to do with saving his own face than attempting to solve the impasse.  Boehner at this point needs to pass something to retain his leadership credibility in the caucus, even if it’s a waste of time.  Unfortunately for Boehner, it gives Reid a perfect opening to table this the way he tabled CCB last week.  That will force him to move his own bill, but he was going to get forced to do that anyway, thanks to the ticking clock and Obama’s demand earlier today to get something to his desk that he can sign.  Even if the two bills go into conference committee — which is still possible — the BBA requirement won’t be coming out of it.

Update: Conn Carroll says this is a compromise, and one designed to get Democratic votes on the BBA:

1) The Boehner bill would raise the debt limit before the August 2nd deadline without the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment to be passed first. Yes, a Balanced Budget Amendment would have to be passed for the second debt limit hike sometime in the spring, but a completely new deal could be worked out before then.

2) The Boehner bill does not require that the Balanced Budget Amendment sent to the states to trigger the second traunch have a two-thirds super-majority requirment for raising taxes. This makes the BBA much more likely to win Democrat votes.

More likely than what?  The proposed BBA caps federal spending at less than 20% of GDP.  How many Democrats will go for that?  You could count them on the fingers of one hand, and still have enough left for bowling.  And if the idea of putting it as a requirement for a second tranche is to leave room for a completely different deal, why bother to include it at all?  Just stick with the two-tranche approach and make it harder for Reid and Obama to say no.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Mike Castle.

fossten on July 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Thanks for proving my point.

KingGold on July 29, 2011 at 2:46 PM

That’s what you nincompoops are willing to risk. Take a math class.

Adjoran on July 29, 2011 at 2:38 PM

You are an idiot. We’re in the mess because FedGov has taken on too much debt at artificially low interests rates, and you’re answer in typical lib fashion is “More debt please! It’s for the children.”

I’ll tell you one thing, the math doesn’t care about the debt ceiling. We are already in a depression, with or without a debt ceiling. GDP is tanking, part of which is made up of Government spending (that’s the G in GDP), and more government spending isn’t going to help.

Reality is coming and hardly anyone wants to see it. But, Reality doesn’t care what we want to see.

j_galt on July 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I don’t care if you’re dem, republican, tea party or what the idea is to vote on legislation. I Boehner’s plan does not get out of the house, fine, as long as people voted for their constituents.

These cowards go through mental gymnastics all of the time so they aren’t pinned to something. They don’t want to have to defend their votes because some votes just have no defense.

Vince on July 29, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Maybe I’m just missing something… but I’ve got to side with Conn on this one. The BBA does not come attached to the first “cap raise”… so Reid has NOTHING he can throw in the argument on this one.

If he doesn’t agree to it, Boehner can say, “we gave you a ‘strings-free’ first cap limit with spending cuts only. And you turned that down… If you’re whining that we’re not giving you the second one, then you’re telling the American voters already planning on exceeding the first cap limit… Are you listening Americans? The Reid-led Senate is already planning on allowing out-of-control spending”.

The way I see it, anyone attacking Boehner’s plans (even the latest), is basically showing their true colors in that they don’t want this situation resolved through any measure that doesn’t involve tax increases. And Reid’s scared he’s going to have to prove it by eventually putting it up for the vote (which is the one thing he DOESN’T want to do… because despite all the opinion columnists claiming otherwise, I honestly think Reid _loses_ on any vote.)

So far, Boehner’s IMO, batting 1.000 on his House bills. It’s Reid and Obama who have looked like spoiled kiddies throughout this entire thing. Boehner needs to stand firm and NOT cave whatsoever on any of this.

DaSaintFan on July 29, 2011 at 2:55 PM

These cowards go through mental gymnastics all of the time so they aren’t pinned to something. They don’t want to have to defend their votes because some votes just have no defense.

Vince on July 29, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Right. The posturing and calculation and who is going to vote for what, and who will get to vote no to save face, etc. is sickening. It’s childish, and people are starting to pay attention again.

And, for the record, having to pay attention to these children in DC is a real pain in the a$$ when you have to work and raise your kids and try to get by. But, sooner or later, the critical mass of pi$$ed off average, working Americans will be reached, and then we can get this party started.

j_galt on July 29, 2011 at 2:58 PM

I think the point is to put the ball back in the Democrat’s court..and to show the freshman that their voices were heard.

I have no idea how this will work out, but I hope this passes.

I know that compromise is a dirty word to a lot of people, but our system of government with its co-equal branches of government and checks and balances requires that from time to time people negotiate and cooperate. It is not a bug for our system of government, it is a feature. It is supposed to be that way.

Terrye on July 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

fossten on July 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Karl Rove.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I know that compromise is a dirty word to a lot of people, but our system of government with its co-equal branches of government and checks and balances requires that from time to time people negotiate and cooperate. It is not a bug for our system of government, it is a feature. It is supposed to be that way.

Terrye on July 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Checks and balances are a feature to prevent action and prevent legislation, not reason to compromise to do something. Not doing anything is an option (yet, somehow that idea was lost a long time ago).

j_galt on July 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Terrye on July 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

This video of my favorite TV ad ever kind of sums it up…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

OnlyOrange on July 29, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Mike Castle.

fossten on July 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Thanks for proving my point.

KingGold on July 29, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Yep, we need more Scott Browns in the GOP, that way we can lend bipartisan support to the Dems and screw the country and the GOP brand simultaneously. Hooray for efficiency!!!

fossten on July 29, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I know that compromise is a dirty word to a lot of people, but our system of government with its co-equal branches of government and checks and balances requires that from time to time people negotiate and cooperate. It is not a bug for our system of government, it is a feature. It is supposed to be that way.

Terrye on July 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

You’re confusing compromise on things of differing opinion. When the issue is a moral issue -like the very destruction of our nation -abortion etc. There is a point at which compromise becomes conplicite with the evil side. Half way between evil and good is evil. 2 plus 2 can never be allowed to become 5.275 or the entire world will malfuntion. Destroying freedm and the constitution that alone recognizes man and receiving rights from God and cannot be infringed by man. Some things cannot be compromised.

The GOP like the progressives see nothing that is untouchable -they pretend to have radically different positions for the benifit of their pretend constituancy – but in truth there is nothing they will fight to the death for. In that they are 100% wrong and need to be opposed.

None of the commandments mention compromise -there are absolute rights and absolute wrongs -we just stopped believing in them.

Don L on July 29, 2011 at 4:36 PM

C-span has House coverage now. Procedural Vote on Raising Federal Debt Ceiling next. Resolution vote in progress now.
I think they said Speaker Boehner is to speak soon.

bluefox on July 29, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I think they said Speaker Boehner is to speak soon.

bluefox on July 29, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Any bets he’ll cry?

HondaV65 on July 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM

I know that compromise is a dirty word to a lot of people, but our system of government with its co-equal branches of government and checks and balances requires that from time to time people negotiate and cooperate. It is not a bug for our system of government, it is a feature. It is supposed to be that way.

Terrye on July 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Would you force a Pro-Life lawmaker to vote in favor of an abortion bill?

Look – Tea Party lawmakers CAMPAIGNED on a platform of reducing spending – not increasing spending. Asking them to increase spending is crazy. It runs counter to the very principles they campaigned on.

Next – YOU DON’T NEED THOSE GUYS TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT.

The Dims and Rino’s are all wet to increase the debt – let them do it together – they outnumber Tea Party.

But they’ll have to deal with that in their next election.

HondaV65 on July 29, 2011 at 5:24 PM

but a requirement for passage — amounts to a poison pill that gives Harry Reid all of the excuse he needs to kill this latest version as soon as it gets out of the house.

And that differs from the previous version how? You know, the one Harry Reid and 53 dems said would have no chance of passing the senate, and would be killed as soon as it gets out of the house.

xblade on July 29, 2011 at 5:27 PM

(that’s the G in GDP)

j_galt on July 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Actually, that’s Gross, not Government.

What you are thinking of is the definition of GDP, which is simply defined as “C + I + G + (x – i)”. The “G” in that is Government spending.

BlameAmericaLast on July 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

What the hell is a tranche?

silvernana on July 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

It holds the Onus.

faraway on July 29, 2011 at 12:59 PM

petefrt on July 29, 2011 at 6:07 PM

HondaV65 on July 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Will he cry? Only if it fails:-)

bluefox on July 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM

What the hell is a tranche?

silvernana on July 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

It holds the Onus.

faraway on July 29, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Bounded by the gooch, or the taint.

petefrt on July 29, 2011 at 6:16 PM

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