Politico reported this morning that the House GOP rank-and-file are in “full revolt” over the payroll tax cut bill the Senate passed yesterday and that the results of the Monday vote on it are in doubt.
The bill will pass the House as is if there is a straight up-or-down vote because the combination of a majority of Democrats plus a handful of Republicans will provide the necessary margin. This is the same formula that enabled other budget-related measures to be adopted this year when the GOP rank-and-file — especially the first-termers — were not happy with the legislation.
The question is whether House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will be allowed by his caucus to do that this time. If the House GOP’s anger is as great as Politico says, Boehner may not have that freedom. Instead, to appease his members, Boehner may need a floor procedure that leads to a conference and, therefore, further negotiations, with the Senate.
One thing to keep in mind is the continuing House GOP/tea party mindset that the only thing congressional Republicans did incorrectly during the negotiations with Bill Clinton over the two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 was that they compromised too early and didn’t get as good a deal as they could have gotten as a result. The specter of that situation has apparently haunted the House GOP all year and, as a result, every budget negotiation has gone down to the very last minute.
Because of this, the House Republican leadership may not be able to allow the up-and-down vote on the Senate-passed bill that it probably prefers tomorrow and may have to appear to be negotiating through the end of this week.