Speaker John Boehner gave an impassioned stemwinder on the floor of the House this afternoon, moments before the vote commenced on his debt ceiling plan. Calling out the president to “put something on the table,” Boehner hammered away at President Obama’s intransigence and bad faith tactics.
The bill passed with 218 Republican votes, and zero Democratic votes.
The GOP-controlled House has now passed two approaches to dealing with the debt ceiling. The Senate has passed zero. President Obama has talked alot but has not led at all. Wait — he has a “secret plan!” Well how about lifting the veil, champ?
The Tea Party changed the conversation and moved it in the right direction. It’s simply impossible to win total victory when you don’t control all three levers. But to use a football metaphor, the Right has the ball and the Tea Party is calling the plays. That’s a lot to keep in mind. Meanwhile, the president wanted a clean vote on the debt ceililng, and didn’t get that. He wanted tax increases in the middle of a recession, and did not get that either. The unpopular president has not led; the Tea Party has.
The question is, where do we go from here? Washington is collectively scratching its head on that question. Will Reid twist the Boehner bill into something packed with more Democratic gimmicks, or will he try passing his own plan (which given Senate rules, is bound to fail at this point)?
For what it’s worth, S&P is alone so far in threatening to downgrade US credit. Moody’s says it won’t do that, at least not at this point.
Update: Jeff Flake is a smart man.
Update: Boehner writes:
The House demonstrated not arrogance, but leadership last week when a bipartisan majority — including many who came to Washington opposed to raising the debt ceiling under any circumstance — passed the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act for the greater good.
The House demonstrated not arrogance, but leadership today by passing the Budget Control Act, bowing not just to the will of the American people and their desire for a timely and responsible end to this crisis, but also to the Constitution, which gave us the reality of a bicameral legislature.
The legislation passed by the House this evening is not perfect, but it is a positive step forward in the effort to cut spending, clamp down on the growth of government, and reduce our debt.
The bill was constructed on a commonsense framework that was pre-negotiated last weekend with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate, in an honest and sincere effort to bring the crisis to an end. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats walked away from that framework over the course of this week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a good man. His character is not in question. But the fate of this legislation, and possibly our economy, hinges on his ability to reason with the president, and with his caucus.
The people’s House has spoken — not once, but twice — presenting the other chamber with legislation certified by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as cutting trillions of dollars in spending over the next decade while providing an immediate increase in the national debt limit.
If you’re keeping score at home, that House 2, Senate 0. Obama is still armchair quarterbacking.
Update: Boehner bill defeated in Senate.