Take it from the folks at RedState.com. The Republicans and their hapless leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell lost the December budget showdown … — their second December fail in two years. And so, RedStater Daniel Horowitz writes:
Over Friday and Saturday, 61% of House Republicans and 34% of Senate Republicans voted for the
omnibusmegabus bill. In doing so, not only did they violate their pledge pertaining to bundled (1200-page) bills and the 72-hour layover rule and agree to fund Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Planned Parenthood, the EPA, the PLO and the UN; they actually agreed to spend almost $9 billion more than last year. Overall, budget authority will be $33 billion higher than the House budget, while appropriations for non-defense spending will be $45 billion more. One of the members who voted in the affirmative even agreed that he had voted for a “crap sandwich.”
Throughout the process, GOP leaders and appropriators swore incessantly that the spending measure would not breach the $1.043 trillion cap and would cut $6.7 billion from last year’s budget authority. Well, they have lied.
In a cynical subterfuge that has become all too common in Washington, House leaders placed the offsets for the additional $8.6 billion of emergency spending in a separate bill. This allowed members who voted for the omnibus to go on record as saying that they voted to offset the extraneous spending, thereby keeping their pledge to spend less than the previous year. It also enabled Senate Democrats to pass the underlying omnibus bill, along with the emergency spending, but easily vote down the offsets in the third bill. And that is exactly what they did today.
Thanks for being pawns in this insidious inside-the-beltway game. …
You’re … welcome?
Related: What the Democrats won
UPDATE: Boehner in full retreat amid a revolt in his caucus. He now opposes the Senate deal. And watch as the slippery Mr. McConnell turns the knife on his own deal:
The House is scheduled to take up the Senate bill — passed in a rare Saturday session — when members return to Capitol Hill on Monday night. House leaders expect the bill to fail and their members to then consider and perhaps vote on an amended version that same night.
Democrats, led by Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, reacted angrily to the turn of events in the House.
“When we met last week, Speaker Boehner requested that Senator McConnell and I work out a compromise,” Mr. Reid said, referring to the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “Neither side got everything they wanted, but we forged a middle ground that passed the Senate by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.”
Although Mr. McConnell, like scores of his colleagues, voted for the Senate-brokered bill, he retreated from the measure on Sunday, throwing his support behind Mr. Boehner’s idea to come up with a yearlong extension, which was the original goal of Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats.
“The House and the president both want a full-year extension,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, said in an e-mail to reporters. “The best way to resolve the difference between the two-month extension and the full-year bill, and provide certainty for job creators, employees and the long-term unemployed, is through regular order, as the speaker suggested.”
The once-seemingly sure deal, which allowed the Senate to recess for the year, was for a $33 billion package of bills to keep the Social Security tax paid by most workers at 4.2 percent rather than 6.2 percent, extend unemployment benefits for those already receiving them, and avoid reductions in Medicare payments to doctors. The measure would be effective through February.
But the deal slid off the rails abruptly on Saturday, just hours after the Senate vote, when House Republicans balked after being briefed about the terms by their leaders. Even a sweetener provision to speed the decision process for construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast could not mollify them. Mr. Boehner had called the provision a “victory.”
So in a matter of hours, a hastily written agreement between Senate leaders — one Mr. McConnell said Saturday on the Senate floor was “not designed to fail but designed to pass” — gave way to chaos..
Chaos indeed… Keep in mind: Mitch McConnell didn’t just vote for the deal, he negotiated it. And now he opposes it too? Washington is insane.
But as shady as Mr. McConnell’s walk-back appears, it is Mr. Boehner who is truly getting the short end of things … yet again. His leadership is constantly being undermined by his caucus, and he is being made to look like a weak leader, under duress rather than in charge. More from the Times story:
Just how hard Mr. Boehner tried to sell the bill is a matter of debate. Some Republican aides said that Mr. Boehner had warned Mr. McConnell his conference would be wary of the Senate deal, and that Mr. Boehner had presented it to his members in the conference call as one of several options. But a number of House members who participated in the call said Mr. Boehner told them they should accept the deal, however imperfect, and fight for a better one next year.
Republican leaders are seeking a deal for a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut to try to blunt what are certain to be Democratic accusations heading into an election year that Republicans are against tax cuts for low- and middle-income workers.
The conflict over the Senate bill reflects the fundamental unease that many rank-and-file Republicans have expressed for weeks over extending the tax holiday, which would replace the tax increase that would have gone toward the Social Security fund with general fund money.
It also mirrors a well-established pattern of House conservatives undermining Mr. Boehner’s efforts to reach bipartisan compromises on a variety of fiscal matters. In July, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Obama were close to reaching a large deficit-reduction agreement but retreated when it became clear that the most conservative House Republicans would not agree to new revenue measures like increasing the income tax paid by the wealthy.
“We are witnessing a pattern of Speaker Boehner walking away from bipartisan compromises to kowtow to his extreme Tea Party wing of his caucus,” Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said in a statement. “This is the latest example of the Tea Party Republicans sacrificing the good of the country on the altar of extreme ideology.”
Not good. And it looks like Senate Democrats are further turning the screws, vowing not to return to Washington before congress reconvenes in January (having said their goodbyes and headed home)… leaving House Republicans to shoulder the blame alone, should people’s unemployment benefits run out, and their taxes rise as a result of the extension not going through. That, from no less a hardball player than Chuck Schumer. So what’s left for Mr. Boehner to do? Pass it. Or fail.
There is a slight possibility that some Republicans would join with Democrats to pass it, which would be a disaster for Mr. Boehner’s leadership. Mr. Boehner could also amend the bill to include a one-year extension of the payroll tax reduction and some conservative policy riders to make it acceptable to a majority of his conference, and hope that the Senate would return to negotiate a new bipartisan conference measure based on the two chambers’ bills.
Really not good.