John Boehner needs 217 votes to pass his debt plan. There are 240 House Republicans. It’s unclear if any Democrats will vote with Boehner, so he can only lose 23 members of his caucus.
Against that backdrop, this week, according to numerous reports, John Boehner tried to become a hard ass. NY Times:
Speaker John A. Boehner is a laid-back leader who likes to say that his role is to let the House work its will. But with the nation’s economic standing and his own political future at risk, Mr. Boehner jettisoned his usual laissez-faire approach on Wednesday.
“I didn’t put my neck on the line and go toe to toe with Obama to not have an army behind me,” Mr. Boehner declared at a private party meeting, according to some House members. He demanded the fealty of conservatives who were threatening to sink his budget proposal and deny him the chance to confront the Senate with a take-it-or-leave offer on a debt ceiling increase.
With his power — and his party — in danger of a humiliating collapse, John A. Boehner had to become the politician he had promised he was not.
Boehner, a genial Ohioan famous for crying in public, had pledged that he would not be an arm-twister like some House speakers of the past. When he took the gavel in January, Boehner (R) promised to allow the House to “work its will.”
By Wednesday, that strategy had led him to a bad place. His party was in revolt. Many Republican lawmakers were publicly critical of his new plan to raise the national debt ceiling, and the bill’s prospects were seriously in doubt.
Still unclear if Boehner has the votes. His future is in the hands of the hard-core teabagger types. From The Hill:
House Republicans who signed a “cut, cap and balance” pledge are expected to decide the fate of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) new debt and deficit reduction bill.
Thirty-nine House Republicans embraced the pledge, which vows to oppose any bill that raises the debt ceiling unless it calls for major cuts, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment.
Nineteen of those 39 have said they will oppose, or will likely oppose, Boehner’s bill. Only six of them have publicly committed to backing the bill, or are leaning toward supporting it.
Then there are 14 others who have not said how they will vote. Republican leaders must convince most of these members to vote yes, or the bill will die on the House floor Thursday, according to an analysis by The Hill.
The Hill has posted its whip count. The vote will be later today. There’s plenty of time for Boehner to twist arms.
UPDATE: Looks like the House vote will occur in the early evening, after the markets close:
Indeed, House Republicans are planning an evening vote on Boehner’s package to lift the debt ceiling — after the financial markets close in New York.