House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will bring his budget proposal to the floor later today, but not until after 5 p.m. eastern. The Republican Speaker doesn’t want the outcome to rattle Wall Street, and he needs all the time he can get to lock up every last vote within in his own caucus.
As of this afternoon, the margin will be extremely close, and a vote or two in either direction could dictate the outcome.
The problem, of course, is that all of this drama is for naught. Even if Boehner’s bill passes the House, it will go to the Senate where a clear majority is eager to kill it. In fact, they’re so eager to dispatch the right-wing plan, the Senate intends to do so with unusual speed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made this announcement today:
For those who can’t watch clips online, Reid explained, “As soon as the House completes its vote tonight or this afternoon, the Senate will move to take up [the Boehner bill]. It will be defeated. They know that, and the American people should understand that clearly. No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation we are in today a few short months from now.”
Reid added that economists believe a short-term extension carries some of the same risks as a technical default.
How can the slow-moving Senate move so quickly, killing a bill within hours of it passing the House? Brian Beutler explained, “[T]o expedite the process, and to prove as swiftly as possible that Boehner’s plan is DOA in the Senate, Reid will move to table the bill. All Democrats will vote to table the legislation, Reid has said, and then it’s on to the next step. ”
Suzy Khimm added, “The advantage of tabling is that it’s faster…. The disadvantage of tabling is that Republicans will insist that Boehner’s proposal had a chance in the Senate, and that Reid was simply afraid that it would pass.”
The latter isn’t a concern — 58 senators, including every Democrat in the majority caucus, are already on record against the Boehner plan.
This clarity should also remind House Republicans that they’re sticking their necks out, voting for a right-wing plan that will fail later tonight, even if it passes the House.
Boehner seems to believe Dems are somehow bluffing, and that his plan has a real shot in the upper chamber. I hate to disappoint him, but Democrats are lousy poker players. They’re not kidding. If the Speaker’s measure passes the House, it will meet a swift end very soon after.