Like rubbing salt in an open wound, it was announced Wednesday that the House would vote first on any Senate deal to reopen government and lift the debt ceiling. The move to pass a deal that many conservatives see as a capitulation indicates that Congress is moving quickly to put the debate behind it. With the House moving first, Reid can avoid some procedural hurdles to send a deal quickly to President Obama.
Although details haven’t been finalized, the Senate deal is now expected to fund government through December 15 and lift the debt ceiling until early February. If the Treasury uses its “extraordinary” measures to manage cash and debt, the debt ceiling would be pushed until May or June.
The vote in the House will be a critical test for Boehner’s speakership. With large number of Republicans expected to oppose the Senate deal, when it is finalized, Boehner may have to rely on Democrats to pass the funding deal. Such a move would violate the “Hastert Rule,” which has guided GOP Leadership for years and ensures that any legislation that passes the House has the support of a majority of House Republicans.