The PJ Tatler

'Holding Pattern': House Delays Vote on Boehner Plan, Vote Counting Continues (Update: No Vote Tonight)

Speaker John Boehner needs 216 votes to pass his plan in the House, and so far doesn’t have them. Making fewer headlines, Sen. Reid also apparently doesn’t have the votes to pass his plan in the Senate. Of course, there’s still no plan from the president at all. Had to work that “Republican talking point” in somewhere.

There’s a “Plan C” emerging that sounds like it contains features of the McConnell compromise plus some parts of both the Reid and Boehner plans. Legislative Frankenstein, in other words, but that may be what we get.

The question of how we got here isn’t being addressed enough in the media. We got here because, for more than 800 days now, the Democrats have not passed a budget. And when they had total control of the House and Senate, they failed to raise the debt ceiling as part of their long-ball strategy to crack the Tea Party off from the GOP. The Democrats wanted to force Republicans to have to vote on and raise the debt ceiling; they also wanted to preserve their political viability by keeping their votes off of budgets reflecting their and President Obama’s spending spree. And as recently as a couple of weeks ago, President Obama flatly refused to meet with Speaker Boehner at all. And for all the abuse being heaped on Boehner from all quarters right now, his House is the only branch that has passed anything: Cut, Cap and Balance. That was a good plan that the Democrats have objected to out of spite, and did not allow a true vote on. The Democratic Senate has mostly played wingman to Obama’s obstructionism.

So here we are. The House may vote on the Boehner plan tonight if he gets the votes; if he doesn’t, they’ll kill it and come up with something else. Reid is said to be awaiting the House bill and delaying any votes on his plan until the Boehner plan has been voted down in the Senate first. There is word that the House will meet through the weekend, with votes possible both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Update: It looks like they have the votes now, because the majority leader’s office has sent out word that there will be a vote in the House tonight.

Update: Or, maybe they’re still two votes short. It sounds like they’re short but pressuring some hold-outs to switch to yes. Phil Gramm was even brought in to personally persuade the Texas House delegation to switch a few votes. As a Texan I’m proud of our folks standing strong, but the fact is, if they don’t pass the Boehner plan then there is nothing on the table. Reid’s plan is unlikely to pass the Senate, and it’s not as good as Boehner’s plan anyway because it cuts Defense too much while leaving entitlements alone. Plan C is still in the mad scientists’ lab but is not likely to be better than the Boehner plan. It’s an open question as to who will get the blame for whatever happens if we get to August 2 or 10 — whichever is the real Debtageddon — and nothing has been done. Downgrade is very likely, and the president may play the default card. The media will have his back.

If only we had a president who had a history of crossing the aisle and bringing people of both parties together…

Update: On a trivial and depressing note, the White House scare factory warns that if the Boehner bill passes, it will ruin Christmas. That, from the same bunch that used holidays and midnight votes to push ObamaCare over the line.

From the depressing side, A.B. Stoddard on Fox just now said we may get a week patch for the debt ceiling, which means all this noise just keeps going on and Pelosi keeps having to work to save the world.

Update: Now the Democrats are just acting like children.

Update: Rep. Paul Ryan quoted as saying the Boehner plan will pass.

Update: Rep. Jeb Hensarling is also saying that the Boehner plan will pass tonight.

Update: (9:27 pm central) Just across on Fox — there will be no vote on the Boehner plan in the House tonight. The bill itself is being “tweaked,” which may mean that a balanced budget amendment is being added to it, or that better caps and cuts are being added.