It really has been miserable, but after months of constipation, we’re finally ready for movement. Late word is that the vote will happen between 6:30 and 7 p.m. ET with the Senate to rubber-stamp it tomorrow. The Hill’s whip count as of 5:30 has 56 yays versus 30 nays, but that’s less important than who the yays are: Pelosi is reluctantly voting yes, as is Hoyer, which means House Democrats have plenty of political cover to sign on even though they’re not being whipped to do so. They had no choice, really — voting the bill down would be tantamount to a vote of no confidence in Obama — but the White House was working the phones all day just to be sure.
On the GOP side, Buck McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services committee, is voting yes despite grave reservations about the defense cuts. Mike Pence is also a yes, and of course Paul Ryan has been selling the deal to caucus members as a good first step so he’s in too. Even some of the GOP’s no votes, in fact, have gone out of their way to praise Boehner as having won a moral victory. So the stars are aligned; the only question is the final margin. Boston Globe reporter Matt Viser thinks there could be as many as 260 yays(!), which I can’t believe given the degree of disgruntlement on both sides. I’m thinking reluctant yays will hold back until Boehner’s got 225 or so on the board, then start voting no to protect themselves. Over/under is 230.
I’ll add more key votes below as I hear of them. Exit quotation from Pelosi, when asked whether the bill she’s voting for is a “Satan sandwich”: “It probably is – with some Satan fries on the side.”
Update: Wouldn’t it be amazing to pass a major piece of economic legislation without a drop-dead day looming, with plenty of time for members of Congress to review it? In fact, wasn’t that part of the GOP’s pledge last year?
“I am embarrassed for my party,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who voted for a debt-limit bill last week. He said he remembers his party promising that “every bill” would “have three days” of public scrutiny before lawmakers were asked to vote on it.
Many senators from both parties said Monday they were examining the details of the legislation. But they had a lot of unanswered questions — mysteries that might not be solved before they’re forced to vote on raising the debt limit…
“A lot of us who were elected this last cycle thought it was very important to read the bills before we vote on them,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite who had first seen the legislative text Monday morning. “This is a complicated measure and it changes a lot of historical precedent. … There are very few limits of any limits of what could come out of this committee. It changes the historic nature of the filibuster in the sense that a minority in the Senate has the ability to stop legislation. They won’t be able to do that.”
Update: Pro tip on the over/under posted above: Take the under. As of 6:30 ET: “One member of the House Republican Whip team tells me they are ‘close’ to having enough votes for approval.”
Update: The stakes are rising:
House Democrats don’t want to carry Republicans’ water, though. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., said every Democrat who votes for the bill takes a Republican off the hook — he urged colleagues to wait until Republicans put at least 200 votes on the board “before we give them cover.”
Update: High drama on the House floor. I can’t wait to hear the story behind this:
Gabrielle has returned to Washington to support a bipartisan bill to prevent economic crisis.
Update: A sweet moment on a sour day: The voting has stopped and the House is giving a standing O to Giffords as she appears on the floor.
Update: Almost as an afterthought, the bill passed easily, 269-161. Democrats did in fact take Ackerman’s advice and hold back until nearly all Republicans had voted, and then they voted yes in droves. Stand by for the roll; my recollection is that the party breakdown was roughly 175 Republicans and 94 Democrats.
Update: Here’s the roll. 174 Republicans voted yes while Democrats split evenly, 95/95.