Econintersect: Was Plan B just a bluff? Or a head fake? Or the end of the Boehner House speakership? Whatever happened in the hours before the end of the Mayan calendar, it may not have been the end of the world, but it was likely the end of something. Just what remains to be seen.
According to an article in National Journal, at least 20 Republican House members didn't even attend the Republican caucus where the Republican leadership tried to muster the 218 votes needed for passage of Plan B. With a total of 241 Republicans in the current lame duck session, only 3 or 4 dissenters in the caucus would have been enough to scuttle the vote.
Where were the 20 or more absent Republican congressmen? The National Journal says they were attending a party at the "Cajun Supper Club." Clearly Boehner had overreached with his attempt at Plan B, which would have retained all Bush tax cuts for incomes up to $1 million and returned to Clinton era taxes for higher incomes.
The Financial Times quoted Speaker Boehner:
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator [Harry] Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Mr Boehner said, referring the Democratic Senate majority leader.
The FT said that the episode casts doubt on Boehner's ability to get any deal he might make passed by the House. Econintersect would add that the events of the day also cast doubt on Boehner's prospects to be reelected Speaker of the House in January. Are we about to see Eric Cantor move into that role?
It seems that the Republican controlled House has sent a clear message: "We don't want no compromise!"
- Republican 'plan B' collapses (James Politi, Financial Times, 21 December 2012)
- House Conservatives in the Mood for Gumbo, Not Plan B (Ben Terris, National Journal, 20 December 2012)