Quotes of the day

Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.

At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”

“You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”


Had there been a vote on Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” to avert the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff on Thursday night, it would not have been close. He was probably 40 to 50 votes short of the number he needed to avoid a humiliating defeat at the hands of his own party, according to rough estimates from Republican members of Congress and staff members…

“Some people really really really really talked themselves into believing it was a tax increase even though Grover Norquist, of all people, said it wasn’t,” said Cole, referring to the anti-tax activist responsible for “the pledge” not to raise taxes that most Republicans sign.

“That is like me talking myself into believing something is a sin even though the Pope tells me it is not,” Cole said.


“I think that there were members that are so gun shy about primaries that they weren’t willing to take a risk … some members told me that it was just too hard to explain how it wasn’t a tax increase,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said shortly following Thursday night’s abrupt conference meeting where Boehner told his colleagues they wouldn’t vote on the bill…

One lawmaker, who has served on the whip team for several years, told The Hill that he was “whipping people that I’ve never had to whip before.”

The lawmaker, who requested anonymity, was getting frustrated with his colleagues for regurgitating the “the same old bull—- lines … like, ‘If we don’t hold the line, or if we cave’… And I said, ‘What??? Then what?’”

He was able to turn several votes when his colleagues couldn’t answer “what then.”


As things stand now, some worry that nothing short of a catastrophe could force a resolution.

“We have sunk to the lowest common denominator in order to get a deal — sheer panic,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, a former aide to House and Senate leadership. “The reality of a stock market crash is probably the only way Washington will strike a deal. It is probably the only scenario that could likely force the speaker’s hand and allow for a deal driven by Democratic votes to pass the House.”

Which, of course, is not an ideal way to govern.

“The hard-core anti-tax conservatives in the GOP seem to believe that Barack Obama will be blamed if there is no agreement reached to avoid sequestration and the tax increases that are coming,” said Sheldon D. Pollack, a University of Delaware law and political science professor who has written a history of Republican anti-tax policy. “Calculated gamble? Or are they simply incapable of recognizing that they do not control the White House or the Senate, and hence do not have the ability to control the agenda? Sadly, I think it is the latter.”


Several conservative House Republican members are contemplating a plan to unseat Speaker John Boehner from his position on January 3, Breitbart News has exclusively learned. Staffers have compiled a detailed action plan that, if executed, could make this a reality…

Since there are 233 Republicans heading into the next Congress, only 17 Republicans would be needed to unseat Boehner. The House would continue having multiple elections throughout the day on January 3 until it agreed upon a new Speaker…

If Boehner loses on that first election try, he’ll be battered. For now, this is a leaderless movement – an “Anybody but Boehner” charge. But after that first secret ballot election wouldn’t have earned him his speakership back, those planning this ouster expect viable alternatives to emerge at that point.

One of those alternatives, they think, will unite the party and take the speakership.


“This was not a vote of no confidence in the Speaker,” freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), an opponent of Boehner’s Plan B legislation, said in an interview. “This was a legislative defeat, not a personal defeat.”

Another vocal critic of the Speaker’s proposal, Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), said: “He is my Speaker, and I support him.”…

When asked if Boehner’s Speakership was in trouble, freshman Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) — a conservative in the majority-making class of 2010 — gave a resounding “Hell, no!” to The Hill on Friday morning…

One conservative House Republican, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the only way Boehner’s position is likely to be in serious jeopardy is if he agrees to raise the debt ceiling in a fiscal-cliff deal with Obama without significant concessions on spending cuts and entitlement reform from the president.

“If he gives away the debt ceiling, he’s in trouble,” the member said.


Risks to Boehner’s speakership be damned, Democratic leaders are anticipating they may have to join him in large numbers to pass a bill.

“There’s no rule preventing him from allowing the entire House to work its will, Democrats and Republicans together, and that may mean that we have to pass something that does not have 50 percent of Republicans on board,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told National Journal…

One GOP member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so he could speak openly, predicted the country “would go through the cliff, [President Obama] will figure out what deal he can cut, it’ll go through the Senate and we’ll have to pass it out,” he said.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is resisting pressure from Republicans pushing for the Senate to take a more active role to avoid the “fiscal cliff” after House legislation stalled Thursday.

Reid has rejected Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) assertion that avoiding the fiscal cliff now depends on President Obama working out a deal with the Senate. Reid’s allies said it is unrealistic to expect him and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to step in and hammer out an eleventh-hour agreement…

“We’re now in a bad spot,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “I hope we don’t go over the cliff but I think we are.”


“The American people re-elected President Obama on Election Day. They also re-elected a Republican majority in the House,” he said, confronting rhetoric by opponents who say Boehner needs to bow to the will of the majority of American people who elected a president that campaigned on higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

“In doing so, they gave us all a mandate,” he continued. “It was not a mandate to raise tax rates on families and small businesses. It was a mandate for us to work together to begin solving the massive debt that threatens our country’s future.”