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Right-wing puts Boehner in a vise

By ANDREW TAYLOR
July 27, 2011

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, right, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., look on during a news conference at The Republican National Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Neither the House nor the Senate has a clear path forward for must-pass legislation to allow the government to continue to borrow to pay its bills, putting lawmakers and financial markets alike on edge less than a week before the deadline for heading off the nation’s first-ever default.

House Speaker John Boehner was forced late Tuesday to postpone a floor vote on his plan, which originally had been scheduled for Wednesday, after nonpartisan congressional scorekeepers said the proposal would cut spending less than advertised. He promised to rewrite the measure, but the move means the House can’t vote on it until Thursday at the earliest.

Boehner, R-Ohio, needs to do more than pump up the legislation. He needs to shore up his standing with tea party-backed conservatives demanding deeper spending cuts to accompany an almost $1 trillion increase in the government’s borrowing cap. Many conservatives already had promised to oppose it.

“We need more drastic cuts,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. “I can’t support it in its current form.”

“I’m searching for a path toward yes but having a difficult time finding it,” said Rep Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.

Unless he can wrestle the situation under control, Boehner risks losing leverage in his dealing with President Barack Obama and Democrats controlling the Senate.

Boehner’s plan was not winning converts among some stalwart conservatives. It prompted Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to declare that the bill was destined to fail in the Senate and it drew a White House veto threat. But it was framing the debate over how to reduce long-term deficits while raising the debt ceiling.

Tuesday’s Congressional Budget Office analysis said the GOP measure would cut the deficit by about $850 billion over 10 years, not the $1.2 trillion originally promised. Even more embarrassing was a CBO finding that the measure, which would provide a $900 billion increase in the nation’s borrowing cap, would generate just a $1 billion deficit cut over the coming year.

Boehner’s plan would couple budget savings gleaned from 10 years of curbs on agency budgets with a two-track plan for increasing the government’s borrowing cap by up to $2.7 trillion. The first increase of $900 billion would take effect immediately; the second increase could be awarded only after the recommendations of a special bipartisan congressional panel are enacted into law.

The White House says Boehner’s measure would reopen the delicate and crucial debt discussions to unending political pressure during next year’s campaigns and risk more uncertainty in the markets.

The White House promised to veto Boehner’s measure if it were to reach Obama’s desk.

It’s unlikely to come to that. Reid, D-Nev., promised the measure would never make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Reid held back on forcing a vote on his competing measure, which he unveiled Monday to poor reviews from Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Reid appears to hope that his measure, which promises $2.7 trillion in spending cuts and would increase the debt limit enough to keep the government afloat past the 2012 elections, could emerge as the last viable option standing and could be modified with input from Republicans.

Those same Republicans blasted Reid’s bill for $1 trillion in war-related savings they say are phony. But McConnell is emerging as a key figure in the endgame, and he sounded a conciliatory note in an appearance Tuesday.

“We need to get an outcome. And to get an outcome, a Republican House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president would have to reach an agreement,” McConnell said. “So I’m prepared to accept something less than perfect, because perfect is not achievable.”

One area of potential compromise could be how to treat the findings of a bipartisan congressional commission to identify further deficit reductions, especially in major health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Both Reid and Boehner support the idea, though Boehner wants to make a future increase in the debt limit contingent on the proposed additional cuts being enacted into law.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking down to next Tuesday’s deadline to continue the government’s borrowing powers and avert possible defaults on U.S. loans and obligations, like $23 billion worth of Social Security payments due Aug. 3. The Capitol’s telephones were jammed after Obama urged the public to contact their representatives in his Monday night address.

Conservative bloggers and groups like the Club for Growth, which funds primary campaigns against Republicans it deems too squishy in their conservatism, denounced Boehner’s bill as too weak. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, closer to the GOP mainstream, urged support.

While Boehner searched for votes, some Americans seemed to edge closer to the notion that the Aug. 2 deadline might pass without a solution. The stock market fell again, although not dramatically. California planned to borrow about $5 billion from private investors as a hedge against a possible federal government default.

The White House spoke with veterans groups about what might happen to their benefits if a deal isn’t reached. Obama has said he can’t guarantee Social Security checks and payments to veterans and the disabled would go out on schedule.

Freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., bristled at the idea that tea party-influenced newcomers are sheep-like ideologues willing to risk default.

“We’re not a bunch of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Neanderthals,” Gowdy said. “We’re interested in answering what we perceive to be the mandate, which is to stop the spending and change the way Washington handles money.”

Gowdy said he was leaning against Boehner’s proposal.

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22 Responses to Right-wing puts Boehner in a vise

  1. egc52556

    July 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    “We’re not a bunch of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Neanderthals,”

    Nah, you are.

    “We’re interested in answering what we perceive to be the mandate [...]”

    Nah, you aren’t. There was no mandate for you Tea Partiers to hold the country hostage to your extreme agenda. America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, which you have become.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Bug off…

      • logtroll

        July 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm

        Kinda sensitive, Big Al?

        Been wondering about the “mandate” meself.

        • Almandine

          July 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

          Nah, it’s clear there’s no discussion to be had … but it does nearly quote something you said to me recently.

  2. eve

    July 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    This man speaks the truth.
    Logically and in a matter-of-fact style even the typical American can understand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZmDV9Z03N8&feature=player_embedded

    It ALL comes back to money created out of thin air.
    We are being held hostage by our own acceptance of the slavery we need not embrace.

    We didn’t spend ourselves into this debt, it was done by those we asked not to (bailouts anyone).
    This debt was created out of thin air, out of thin air.
    As I am typing this, the money that never exited was created.
    Are you getting this?

    Those on TV are part of the charade.
    The fiat (phony currency) needs to go.

    End the fractional reserve banking system.
    Pass this link on to others on other sites if/when you visit them.
    The understanding (or lack thereof) of our so-called currency needs to be addressed and the populace will eventually be made (through poverty) to pay attention to this very issue.

    Boehner is a political whore bought and paid for to insure he plays the game.

    They aren’t even addressing the symptoms much less the disease.

    We (here on CHB) know the left/right paradigm is a diversion and a shell game to distract us from the real issues.

    Hopefully we can spread the word to enough people, someone pays attention.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      How is it that the guy who’s trying to get more control over spending is the political whore?

      BTW – how you gonna spread the word beyond CHB?

  3. Danny Adams

    July 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    >>Freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., bristled at the idea that tea party-influenced newcomers are sheep-like ideologues willing to risk default.<<

    They may not be willing to risk default overall, but some of Michele Bachmann's latest statements (such as it not really being a default if you can pay some of your expenses) aren't helping their perception much.

  4. KerriK

    July 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    It is ridiculous that the entire country is being held hostage to the right wing adend who is more concerned about their political viability than what is good for the country. What is good for the country is to eliminate the tax loopholes that organizations and high earners are able to take advantage of.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      How about hostage to the Dems buying votes with our tax dollars?

  5. griff

    July 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I love all these comments on holding the country hostage. Wait, don’t tell me, I’ll guess…Chris Matthews?

    Trillions in unpayable debt, massive federal tax-devouring bureaucracies, inflationary monetary policy, unending imperialism, massive deficits, widespread unemployment, overtaxation, fiat worthless currency, to name a few, are what’s holding this country hostage.

    Of course this whole circus sideshow is nothing more than campaign posturing and grandstanding by both sides.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      Ya think?

  6. Davld Clark

    July 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    If you waht an education, do a search on JFk and the Federal Reserve. Bush and the JFK assissination make interesting reading also.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      Ya think JFK was killed because he wanted to end the Fed?

  7. Davld Clark

    July 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    It also doesn’t take a lot of research to figure out that Prescott Bush was the military, industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Prescott be dead long time now…

      • Davld Clark

        July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm

        But him begats a son that ain’t.

        • Almandine

          July 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm

          Cleave to everything old Dad wanted, do you?

  8. Davld Clark

    July 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Him was the only persoh in the country that didn’t recollect where he was when JFK git killed, And. hims begats a son, so nows we’s gots an epidemic of evil on ojr hands.

    • Almandine

      July 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      Not to mention the babbleonian…

  9. Carl Nemo

    July 28, 2011 at 1:11 am

    “Right-wing puts Boehner in a vice” …extract from title

    Evidently these labor averse folks that write these articles don’t know the difference between “vice” and a vise; I.E., a device used for clamping or securing objects for various purposes as performed by a host of tools.

    So setting things straight here, we have to visualize a ‘boner in a vise”…OUCH!

    Lucky for John Boehner that such medieval motivational techniques aren’t being used to extract “reasonable” compliance, firstly from him and his coterie of squalling ‘rethug’ mattoids.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Doug Thompson

      July 28, 2011 at 4:00 am

      Or maybe it is just a tired web site editor who needed more coffee before he edited the article and wrote the headline in the wee hours of the morning. :(

      • Carl Nemo

        July 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

        Don’t take my play on the word vice vs. vise as personal. I wrote the piece to add some humor to this already tired subject of debt limits and the clowns we have ‘representing’ us…not!

        There’s plenty of vice too in the halls of Congress.

        My apologies for evidently chaffing your hide.

        Carl Nemo **==