The Hill: Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) failure to secure enough support among fellow Republicans for “Plan B” to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was not a rebuke of Boehner’s leadership by the conservative wing of the party, a top House GOP lawmaker said Sunday. The failure of Boehner’s tax initiative last Thursday was “a legislative-based vote and not a vote on leadership,” Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Boehner’s proposal was pulled off the House floor after GOP leaders found they could not secure the 218 votes for passage. The defeat marked a frustrating end to intense, one-on-one negotiations between President Obama and Boehner on how best to duck tax increases and $1.2 trillion in automatic budget cuts set to go into effect in January, under the sequestration plan. Lackluster support for the “Plan B” bill was yet another example that Boehner continues to lack control over a conference that has bucked him throughout this Congress.
But opposition to the Boehner plan cut across ideological lines among House GOP members, with a mix of conservative and centrist Republicans standing firm against the House Speaker’s proposal, according to LaTourette, a close ally of the Speaker. LaTourette agreed with Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who appeared alongside the Ohio Republican on Sunday, who said the onus was now on the White House and Congressional Democrats in the Senate to get a deal done on to avoid the fiscal cliff.
LaTourette, though, has chastised the more conservative members of the GOP caucus for scuttling the Boehner plan. Speaking to reporters shortly after the vote, the Ohio Republican reportedly said the defeat of the Boehner bill lay squarely on the shoulders of “the same 40, 50 chuckleheads that all year … have screwed this place up.”