[Posted by Karl]
House Speaker John Boehner could not secure the votes needed to pass his latest bill to lift the debt ceiling in return for spending cuts. As I write this US markets have not opened, but the impact will probably not be good, especially considering that Friday’s GDP report will likely be bad news. Dave Weigel makes two important points, one inadvertently:
Republicans will be absorbing the blame for whatever happens in the markets tomorrow — they’ve been emboldened by what they saw as mild corrections on Monday and the rest of the week. The fact that they’ll take this blame is a real victory for Democrats. Five conservative Blue Dogs had voted for Cut, Cap, and Balance, but it was clear today that Democrats were denying any votes for the Boehner Plan. Nancy Pelosi was pitching a perfect game, with the help (this is from NBC’s Luke Russert) of Heath Shuler, a conservative who was whipping his colleagues. The Democrats are partly responsible for the impasse tonight, but they will escape most blame as Republicans look for tweaks — for the second time! — to make the bill acceptable to their members.
John Boehner’s team had succeeded over several days in turning a number of critics and Tea Party Republicans into compromisers. They just didn’t do enough of it. In the very short term, Boehner lost.
First, whatever the media hype, this is potentially a blip for Boehner. Second, unrepentant ex-JournoLister that he is, Weigel highlights, but cannot bring himself to condemn, his fellow travelers in JournoLism for their predictable failure to fairly report the rabid partisanship of the Democrats here, particularly the so-called Blue Dogs.
Regarding the Democrats’ partisanship, even prog blogger Nate Silver questions a strategy that embarrasses a Speaker whose help the Democrats in the White House and Senate ultimately need. Jennifer Rubin notes other ways in which the cutesy Dems may end up regretting today’s tactics:
There are a couple of benefits to drawing this out (although I have no indication whatsover from conversations with half a dozen House Republican offices this evening that the delay is attributable to anything other than difficulty in rounding up the votes). First, Boehner will certainly have a strong argument that nothing OTHER than this bill can get through the House before August 2. And second, as time slips away, there is less and less time for the Senate to come up with an alternative that can pass both houses by August 2.
Indeed, Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid has not filed cloture on his debt ceiling bill, so any delay or failure to pass a bill in the House will put the Senate in a bind. However, this is not how the establishment or its media is thinking about either of those points. Rather, outlets like MSNBC and the WaPo are pushing the Nancy Pelosi/DNC narrative that the GOP was winning, but has overplayed its hand, such that Boehner must join with Dems in some alternative plan. The danger is that if markets tank and a handful of GOP Congressmen continue to hold the line, Boehner may buy into that narrative. But if I had to guess, some face-saving minor concessions will be found to switch a few more GOP votes into the “yes” column on Friday.
Update: Yes, the Q2 GDP report was bad… and the Q1 revision was worse.