“This is a colossal fumble by the House Republicans,” said a senior Senate GOP aide, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about his own party. “Their inability to recognize a win is costing our party our long-held advantage on the key issue of tax relief. It’s time for Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor to look these rookies in the eye and explain how the game is won or lost.”
The rebellion among House Republicans against the Senate has put McConnell in an awkward position as well. He faces criticism from the GOP rank and file for cutting a deal they don’t like and fierce attacks from Senate Democrats for not voicing support for his own proposal. In the meantime, at least a half-dozen members from McConnell’s own conference are publicly voicing concern over the House GOP’s decision to block the Senate plan.
While McConnell has publicly backed Boehner through a spokesman on Sunday, he hasn’t engaged in the full-throated attacks on Democrats — or calls for the Senate to reconvene — that many in the House have. Instead, he’s quietly huddled back home in Louisville, including spending some time at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.