Speaker John Boehner will bring a clean debt ceiling bill to the floor Wednesday, marking the end of an era in which House Republicans sought spending cuts and reforms in equal or greater amount to the increase in the debt ceiling.
President Obama and congressional Democrats had said they were opposed to even discussing spending cuts in the context of the debt ceiling. But Republicans couldn’t even come together with their own plan.
“It’s a recognition that we don’t have 218 votes. When you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing,” Boehner said in a press conference.
House leadership began the effort offering to tack on relatively-modest GOP priorities like the Keystone pipeline on the debt ceiling increase. That wasn’t enough for the right, who wanted to go big or go home. “There’s only votes for something bold,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, a former chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, “I was willing to do something bold.”
The last ditch effort, announced in a closed-door meeting yesterday, was to add a spending increase to the debt ceiling in the hopes of garnering a bipartisan coalition that could bring the bill over the finish line.
That didn’t work, either, leading to an intense meeting with barbs traded and accusations of bad faith.
Now, Boehner will work to provide a handful of Republicans, himself included, to vote with around 200 Democrats to increase the nation’s debt ceiling without any cuts.
“I would hope not,” Boehner said when asked by a reporter if the “Boehner rule” was dead. But, he conceded, it was a “lost opportunity,” adding, “I am disappointed to say the least.”
Three years after Boehner took the Speaker’s gavel, and the House GOP forced a summer-long debate over spending cuts in the context of the debt ceiling, the Republicans have neither the juice nor the unity to force Obama to come to the table.
“The Boehner Rule,” R.I.P.