Breaking: Key test vote on "Cromnibus" passes -- by two votes, after a last-second switch

With all zeros showing on the clock, it was 213-213. A total embarrassment for Boehner, who’d spent the past two weeks twisting arms in his own caucus and begging Pelosi to twist arms in hers to get to a bare majority.

In the end, he failed to get a single Democratic vote. But then, magic!

Who was the man who switched from no to yes at the last second, sparing the GOP leadership a crushing defeat? Apparently it was … Kerry Bentivolio, the former reindeer rancher, actor, and conservative from Michigan who got elected to his first term in Congress two years ago after incumbent Thad McCotter failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and who then lost his own primary earlier this year to an establishment Republican — by more than 30 points. With today’s vote, I guess he figured there’s no sense delaying his return to the private sector by another week or two.

Good question from DrewM:

I’ll the post the roll when it’s available with the names of the 16 Republicans who voted no. There’s no mystery what happened here, though: Boehner got caught in a pincer movement between liberals, led by Elizabeth Warren, who object to the bill’s provisions on campaign finance and Wall Street regulation, and conservatives, who object to its bloat, cronyism, and failure to do more to stop Obama’s amnesty. I’m a little surprised Pelosi didn’t deliver a few Democrats to help Boehner, though. The obvious alternative if the deal fails apart is a clean short-term spending bill that’ll fund the government for a few months, until the new GOP majority takes over the Senate. Then Republicans can write their own bill and will only need deal with Obama. The current compromise is as good as Pelosi’s going to get. Oh well.

I hear via Twitter that the vote on the final bill will happen sometime after two. Can Boehner hang onto his precarious majority? Stay tuned.

Update: Here you go, the 16 Republican nays. Most names are familiar to tea partiers. Of special note: Dave Brat, the man who toppled Eric Cantor in the Virginia House primary earlier this year.

Update: Apparently the White House just issued a statement supporting the deal. That should be good for a few Democratic votes for Boehner this afternoon.

Update: Via Gateway Pundit, Boehner warned Republicans before the vote that the consequences of failure were stark: If the bill failed, they might … lose some of their Christmas vacation.

Update: Now that the White House is onboard, what’s left of Warren’s opposition? Suddenly the Senate vote on the bill looks more interesting than the House drama. Will Senate Dems side with O, in approving the deal, or with Warren in blocking it for being not far enough to the left?

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