Stupid me, I thought there was a tiny chance that the grassroots backlash to the bill early yesterday would make today’s vote a cliffhanger. Nope:
After conducting a series of closed-door briefings and polling members during a late-afternoon vote, GOP leadership aides confidently predicted that the deal struck between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would sail through the House when it comes to a vote Thursday.
The moment seemed to mark a potentially significant shift by House Republicans away from the uncompromising confrontation of recent years and toward a determined era of more functional governance. After multiple standoffs and threatened defaults and one actual shutdown, polls show that the Republican brand has been badly damaged among voters, and even some of the most conservative Republicans said they were ready for a breather.
“That’s the only reason” to vote for the budget deal — “to calm things down,” said Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.), who said she was undecided about the measure. “To reset the debate is a great way to describe it.”
That’s one of the mysteries of today’s vote: Is it a harbinger of a more sustained turn towards centrism or a low-stakes sui generis vote to get out of town before Christmas? The other mystery is how many Republicans will end up voting for it. Pelosi’s backing the bill on the theory that it’s time to — no joke — “embrace the suck,” which is as solid a motto for American government in the age of Hopenchange that you’ll ever hear. But the fact that House Democrats are on board doesn’t mean a majority of the GOP caucus will go along. Will they, or is this yet another violation of the Hastert Rule? The answer:
Senior GOP aide w/ knowledge of prelim whip count tells me they expect 'more than half' of House R's to vote for Ryan/Murray tonight.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) December 12, 2013
@guypbenson Predictions I've been hearing from members: in the 140 range. Possibly higher, potentially lower. None predict less than half.
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) December 12, 2013
I’ll update with a link to the roll as soon as it’s up. While we wait, read Erick Erickson speculating that Boehner’s throwing roundhouses now at conservative PACs in order to prepare the ground for the new amnesty push to come next year. That is indeed coming, no doubt, but I don’t see how it benefits him or the centrists to take an “us vs. them” posture with righties before the primaries. Better to lie low for now, be conciliatory (“yeah, this deal’s bad, but things’ll be different in 2015”), and then sandbag border hawks with an amnesty deal after primary season is over. All he’s doing by ramming a bad budget deal down their throats now is giving them extra motivation to seek revenge. And there’d be no sweeter revenge than thwarting a sellout on amnesty.
Update: A big win for Boehner and Ryan. The vast majority of the caucus hung with them.
House overwhelmingly votes to approve budget through 2015 fiscal year, 332-94. 62 Republicans defect.
— Mike O'Brien (@mpoindc) December 12, 2013
No roll yet, but it’s coming.
Update: As promised, here’s the roll.
Update: Good catch. Typically the Speaker doesn’t vote unless his/her vote is absolutely necessary.