John Boehner gives up the ghost.
According to TPM, he finally “laid down the law” to his caucus, telling them they were going to have to accept the Senate-White House compromise on the two month payroll tax cut/unemployment insurance extension. And he intends to do it by unanimous consent on Friday (the better to disguise the Democratic majority supporting the bill.) And if a single person objects, messing up the whole unanimous consent thing? He’ll call for a roll call vote, and make each member own their vote for — or worse, against — extending a tax cut for the middle class. From TPMDC:
In a conference call with House Republicans early Thursday evening, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took no questions after making it clear to his members that the game was up and they would have to swallow the Democratic payroll tax extension.
Boehner laid out the agreement he forged to temporarily renew the payroll tax holiday — one his members will hate — and said the goal is to pass the new bill by unanimous consent on Friday morning. That means if even a single recalcitrant Republican objects to his plan, the chaos will drag on for several days.
At a press conference with reporters just after the call, Boehner admitted he has no assurances that the unanimous consent request will fly — but in a sign that he’s finally laying down the law with his unruly members, he vowed to force them to take an up-or-down vote on the issue next week if they cause any trouble.
Asked if all his members would muffle their grievances and allow the bill to move ahead, Boehner admitted, “I don’t know that but our goal is to do this by unanimous consent.”
“It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world,” Boehner said, humbly, of the fight, “but let me tell you what. I think our members waged a good fight.”
That’s called “losing.” Or to use Washington’s favorite word: capitulation… and for the president, it’s called winning:
The pre-Christmas breakthrough marks a major moment in Obama’s relationship with the Republican House — Obama had come under fire from Democrats for conceding too much too soon throughout the year, but on this deal he’s getting exactly what he wants.
“This is good news, just in time for the holidays,” Obama said in a statement, noting that the tax cut would work out to about $1,000 for the average household. “This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives.”
This on a deal that ironically, was always going to get done — it was really just a matter of how much public humiliation Boehner was willing to endure just so he didn’t have to go to Nancy Pelosi for the votes to pass the bill, and prevent his party from getting blamed for stiffing 160 million middle class Americans (after vowing to stop a small tax hike on the rich.) In this fight, the House Republicans threw common sense out the window, fighting a losing battle — and doing so ugly — just so Boehner wouldn’t have to do what he ultimately had to do anyway: get tough with his unruly freshmen.
The House of Representatives is clearly in full meltdown. Boehner is on fumes, and there can’t be even a modicum of trust between him and his supposed deputy, Eric Cantor. The White House clearly believes wholeheartedly in the truth of Boehner’s weakness, and they played it for all it was worth.
The tea party freshmen have sent a message to America, and to their own districts, that they might not be grown up enough to run the government, and that at minimum they’re fine with destroying their political party in order to pursue a narrow ideology that most of their own constituents probably didn’t even know they were voting into office.
But, the unemployed and working Americans (and doctors who accept Medicare) will have their paychecks intact for the holidays. And that’s good news.