House Republicans demanded that Obama and the Senate lead on the fiscal cliff, but are now objecting to passing the agreement that came out of their leadership.
The day after Christmas the House Republican leadership (Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, and McMorris Rogers put out a statement telling the Senate to take action, “The House has acted on two bills which collectively would avert the entire fiscal cliff if enacted. Those bills await action by the Senate. If the Senate will not approve and send them to the president to be signed into law in their current form, they must be amended and returned to the House. Once this has occurred, the House will then consider whether to accept the bills as amended, or to send them back to the Senate with additional amendments. The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act. The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to work with our colleagues to avert the largest tax hike in American history, and to address the underlying problem, which is spending.”
On Sunday, Speaker Boehner called on the Senate and President Obama to lead, “The House has passed legislation to avert the entire fiscal cliff, and the president has never called for the Senate to act on those bills in any way. He instead has simply allowed the Democratic-controlled Senate to sit on them and lead our economy to the edge of the fiscal cliff. I am pleased Senators from both parties are currently working to find a bipartisan solution that can finally pass that chamber. That is the type of leadership America needs, not what they saw from the president this morning.”
Yesterday, Senate and the Obama administration came together to negotiate and overwhelmingly pass an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.
How did House Republicans respond to the leadership that they demanded from the Senate and the White House?
By refusing to support the agreement.
After the first Republican conference meeting of the day, Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters, “I do not support the bill.” Speaker Boehner said that his entire caucus is concerned about the lack of spending cuts in the deal, without mentioning the fact that there aren’t any spending cuts in deal because he walked on negotiations with President Obama.
When Republicans killed Boehner’s own Plan B, they cut themselves out of the negotiating process. Boehner admitted his impotency as speaker when he told the Senate and the White House to lead. Now, House Republicans don’t like the deal that Senate Republicans negotiated, so they are trying to kill it.
The only reason that vote hasn’t been held on the fiscal cliff bill in the House is because Boehner doesn’t have a majority of his caucus on board with bringing it to the floor. Speaker Boehner’s unwillingness to take a position on the bill suggests that he is not about to try to pass the legislation with only a handful of Republicans and majority of Democratic support. The right wing has been freaking out all day over the thought that Boehner might violate the Hastert Rule (a majority of the majority is required to bring a bill up for a vote), but so far the Speaker’s inaction is a big hint that he will go whichever way the majority of his caucus wants.
The Senate is gone, so if the House does anything other than pass the bill, the agreement is dead.
None of this should be surprising to anyone who has followed circus of dysfunction that has ran the House since Republicans took back the majority. With his speakership on the line, it is highly unlikely that Boehner will bring the fiscal cliff bill to the floor for a vote without agreement from a majority of his caucus.
No matter what House Republicans may say, the problem isn’t presidential or senate leadership. The problem begins and ends with the Republicans who are controlling the House.
House Republicans are again failing America, and with their ideological obstruction, may be sowing the seeds for the destruction of the Republican Party.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association