In a brief statement this morning, President Obama explained, “What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan. It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people — not just one faction…. The time for putting party first is over. The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now.”
Soon after, House Republican leaders were shaping their latest bill, which isn’t bipartisan, doesn’t have the support of both parties, and is crafted to cater to just one faction.
On Capitol Hill, the House GOP leaders offered party members a reworked plan Friday morning designed to appeal to the tea party-allied conservatives, and several previously skeptical lawmakers said they would now support it. Members who exited a House Republican Conference meeting said the new proposal would not change the first step of their original two-stage plan to raise the debt limit but would call for Congress to send to the states a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution as a prerequisite for the second stage of the debt-ceiling increase to take effect early next year.
In other words, Boehner is moving backwards, bringing back provisions from the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” measure that was defeated last week.
In this third version of the Speaker’s budget plan, Republicans would get about $1 trillion in cuts and approve a temporary increase in the debt ceiling. Then, both the House and the Senate would be required to approve — with two-thirds majorities in both chambers, of course — a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. If not, the nation would default.
Boehner didn’t really want to add this provision, but he apparently felt it necessary to persuade some of the GOP radicals to come on board. In this case, the Republican leadership had to go out of its way to craft a bill that couldn’t possibly gain Democratic support, simply to allow Boehner to save face and pass something.
With these ridiculous changes, Boehner 3.0 — in effect, a watered down version of the already-rejected CC&B — can now pass the House and die a quick death in the Senate. In effect, the Speaker has decided to use a constitutional amendment as a “bill sweetener” for unhinged conservatives who claim to revere the Constitution.
The House will reportedly reconvene in about an hour, allowing us to slip just a little further down the rabbit hole.