House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) didn’t have an especially good day yesterday.
The embattled Speaker hoped to spend Tuesday shoring up support for his right-wing budget proposal, ignoring opposition from Senate Democrats and a veto threat from President Obama. Boehner scheduled a vote for today, and with sufficient support from his own caucus, the Ohio Republican could dare Dems to reject his ridiculous plan.
But Boehner’s plans quickly unraveled. Fourteen House Republicans announced their opposition, and many more said they were leaning in that direction. Powerhouse far-right activist groups — including the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity, and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Coalition” — also pressured GOP lawmakers to reject the Speaker’s measure.
Late yesterday, things went from bad to worse after the Congressional Budget Office announced that Boehner’s numbers didn’t quite add up, and the projected savings weren’t in line the Speaker’s office’s claims.
Less than 24 hours after presenting his plan, Boehner was forced to retreat.
House Republican leaders were forced on Tuesday night to delay a vote scheduled on their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, as conservative lawmakers expressed skepticism and Congressional budget officials said the plan did not deliver the promised savings. […]
Mr. Boehner was forced to quickly retreat from the bill. Republican leaders said they would probably rework it to in a way that would reflect the decreased savings by raising the debt limit by less than $850 billion. Such a change would mean that the Obama administration would need to make another request for an increase in a matter of months, making the deal even less palatable to Democrats.
That last part is of particular interest. After Boehner’s staff finishes rewriting the plan they thought was finished, the proposal that intended to force yet another debt-ceiling fight early next year would instead face us to go through all of this again later this year.
And this will lead Senate Democrats and the White House to hate the plan even more.
There may be a temptation on the part of some to point and laugh and Boehner’s incompetence and mismanagement. Yesterday’s developments made him look quite foolish, and it’s only natural to ask the GOP leadership, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
But I don’t see any of this as good news. Last week, House Republicans wasted time on a radical budget plan that they knew couldn’t pass, but which made them feel better about themselves. This week, House Republicans are wasting more time on another radical budget plan that they’ve been told can’t pass.
The problem, of course, is that there just isn’t enough time to bother with these games. Boehner intended to bring his measure to the floor today, at which point it would have either failed or moved to the Senate to be killed. But after yesterday’s failures, we’ll hopefully see a House vote tomorrow, leaving the Senate far less time to defeat Boehner’s plan, overcome GOP obstructionist tactics, pass a more sensible alternative, and send it back to the House.
Boehner’s failures yesterday only serve to restrict an unforgiving calendar in ways that make a catastrophe that much more likely.