The Corner

What Happened? What Now?

I am hearing some optimism about this morning’s move. It relies on this understanding of events: House GOP leadership had two problems last night. One was obviously getting his plan out of the House, getting Cap, Cut, Balancers on board. The second: John Boehner needed to give Harry Reid something that he could change. It’s now the Balanced Budget Amendment.

That second point is a positive spin on what really happened: The whole GOP caucus simply did not buy Boehner’s optimism about forcing Reid to pass an unamended bill. And so by adding the BBA language, the House forfeits the possibility of Harry Reid passing the Boehner bill and sending it to the president untouched.

So what does the new path look like? This tweaked Budget Control Act will pass the House. The Senate will strip out the BBA language. It will pass the Senate. When it goes back to the House, Boehner loses some of his caucus again, but Pelosi will have to get some of her members on board. If this is such a crisis moment, Democrats are the party in power. Boehner negotiated with his caucus and got an imperfect bill that the Democratic Senate could work with — with a statement of principles in it including the BBA. Then the Democrats, who do run Washington, after all, will have to step up to the plate.


Ball’s in your court, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, in other words. 

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