And John Boehner and the House GOP lose yet another debt ceiling battle, this time with a complete victory for the White House.
The House passed a yearlong suspension of the Treasury’s debt limit Tuesday in a vote that left Republicans once again ceding control to Democrats, following a collapse in support for an earlier proposal advanced by GOP leaders.
In a narrow vote, 221-201, 28 Republicans voted with 193 Democrats to approve a “clean” extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority — one without strings attached — sending the legislation to the Senate for a posssible final vote later this week. Two Democrats and 199 Republicans voted no.
The vote came two weeks before the Feb. 27 debt-limit deadline set by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and once again underscored the House leadership’s inability to corral Republicans behind a debt-ceiling plan. “The natural reluctance is obvious,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), the chief deputy whip.
The Tea Party is not happy about this, you know, complete and utter defeat thing.
Conservative advocacy groups reacted negatively to Boehner’s plan to bring the clean bill to a vote, with spokesmen for Heritage Action for America and the Club for Growth urging members to vote “no” and including the vote on their scorecards, which serve as guides for their supporters. “When we heard that House leadership was scheduling a clean debt-ceiling increase, we thought it was a joke,” said Barney Keller, a Club for Growth adviser. “But it’s not. Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party.”
The Senate Conservatives Fund, an outspoken tea-party group, blasted Boehner for his eleventh-hour decision in an e-mail, saying “Boehner must be replaced.” They also launched a petition seeking to encourage at least 15 House Republicans to refuse to support Boehner for speaker -- a move that would deprive him of a majority of the House.
Robert Costa, now at the Washington Post, recounts Boehner telling the Tea Party to go to hell:
The scene happened Tuesday morning at the Capitol Hill Club, where House Republicans had gathered for a private breakfast.
After listening to a handful of colleagues flatly discuss fundraising strategy for 30 minutes, Boehner stood up, walked past dozens of sleepy, coffee-sipping Republicans and tersely woke up the room with an update.
“Listen – we’re going to move forward,” Boehner said. Instead of bringing up the leadership’s plan, which would link a restoration of recently cut military benefits to a debt-ceiling extension, he would push a “clean” bill, averting default more than two weeks before the Treasury Department’s debt-limit deadline.
“We’re going to get this done,” Boehner continued, according to several people present for his remarks. No strings attached, he added. He said he was going stop reaching for votes on the plan, an effort that had stalled on Monday. And he wasn’t going to even think of floating another proposal. He was going to do what he thought was best for the GOP, in spite of the widespread angst.
So now we're at the point where the Tea Party either must replace Boehner, or admit they have no power. Make your move, boys. I'll bring the popcorn.
The GOP internal civil war is now truly on.