Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Watch the House

Making predictions in politics is pretty much a fool's errand. It is far more a fool's errand in the case of the debt ceiling debate. But, if I had to guess, here's what I think will happen and why ...

I mentioned this yesterday but it does not seem to me that Boehner has the votes to pass his plan. He certainly does not have enough votes "among Republicans." There are probably some House Democrats who would be willing to vote for it but there are not many. There are only 25 "Blue Dog" Democrats left in the House after the 2010 election. Even if all of them were to vote for the Boehner plan (I don't think that would be the case), it would not be easy to pass his plan.

If Boehner's plan does pass the House, Reid has already said it is "dead on arrival" in the Senate. That's only partially true because Reid will absolutely bring Boehner's bill to the floor. He'll do this because, procedurally, it allows Reid to move the legislative vehicle through the Senate faster. At that point, Reid would amend Boehner's bill by subsituting his plan and kick it back to the House. The House would have a shot at passing this bill because it would get a majority, if not almost all, of the Democratic votes and it might get some Republican votes.

If Boehner's plan does not pass, he's got to pass something else. Remember that the House has not passed ANY bill to raise the debt ceiling. The so-called "cut, cap, and balance" nonsense did not raise the debt ceiling. If Boehner can't pass ANY bill to raise the debt ceiling, he looks pretty bad (and, by the way, we then face economic armageddon ... but that's a side point). At that point, he will likely have to negotiate with Reid and come up with something that can pass and it seems to me that would have to be something a lot like Reid's plan (perhaps with some face-saving concession to Boehner).

So the bottom line is that Boehner and House generally are the place to watch in the next 24 hours because he's got to take one of the paths above and that will then dictate what happens in the Senate. But Boehner's bill will not become law. Obama has said he would veto it. Reid has said it can't pass the Senate. The only question now is what is Boehner's Plan B?

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