After failing to secure enough votes Thursday night for a new deficit plan, House GOP leadership has decided to amend the bill in order to attract conservative holdouts. The only change to the current bill will be a requirement that a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution be passed in both houses of Congress (by two-thirds majority vote) and sent to the states for ratification. The exact language of the balanced-budget amendment will be up to Congress to determine. Members will vote on the updated legislation sometime today and many expect it to pass. As Dan notes, the momentum is breaking that way.
Some House Republicans are noticeably upset at the way things panned out, namely the 200-plus members who threw their support behind the initial plan. Freshman Rep. Steve Womack (R., Ark.) explains by way of a football analogy: “It’s a locker room of team members that are trying to re-huddle,” he said. “We had to burn a timeout last night. We’ve had to check to a new play, and while I personally don’t think the potential outcome of the new play is as good as we could have had yesterday, we just didn’t have enough players on the field.”
Womack tells National Review Online that he believes the initial bill, without the BBA requirement, was a “better play” because it had a much better chance of getting through the Senate, or at least becoming the framework for a final deal. He says the new bill “weakens our position” and “gives much more power to the Senate” by essentially allowing them lead the way on a final compromise.
“I doubt that it helps our leverage that much,” says Rep. Bill Flores (R., Texas), a freshman member of the House Budget Committee. “But if it unifies us, then I think it helps our leverage overall at some point down the road.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) who joined a group of about 30 freshmen members in front of the Capitol on Thursday to announce their support for Boehner original plan, said he was “disappointed” when he found out they wouldn’t be voting last night. “I wanted to take that vote,” he said. “I wanted it to pass. So I was disappointed to have to go home, but today’s a new day. Once again, we’re going to show the American people that we’re willing to do our job, which the other side just hasn’t done.”
Despite the frustration, however, Womack describes House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) as a “great coach” who is “doing what is necessary to keep his team together.”