U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) arrives for a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2014. With the threat looming of a...
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

House GOP stumbling towards shutdown deadline

Eight hours ago, I had a recommendation: as the day on Capitol Hill progresses, and the various political factions lobby for and against the pending spending package, watch to see if House Republicans delay the vote on the so-called “CRomnibus.”
 
Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.”
 
They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote.
There was a procedural vote this afternoon, which was chaotic, and served as a big hint that House Republicans did not have their ducks in a row.
 
If this seems like the latest in a series of similar examples, it’s not your imagination. For four years, think about how many times we’ve seen this pattern play out:
 
1. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) comes up with a plan.
 
2. Boehner and House Republican leaders urge their members to support the plan.
 
3. Boehner and the GOP leadership express confidence that the plan will pass.
 
4. Boehner scrambles for a backup solution when his members decide they don’t like the plan.
 
It’s not over, and we’re dealing with a fluid situation subject to quick changes, but if the current spending package is failing – as seems to be the case – the question then becomes what happens next.
 
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has an idea.
 
Here’s the letter she sent to her members this afternoon:
Dear Democratic Colleague,
 
It is clear from this recess on the floor that the Republicans don’t have enough votes to pass the CRomnibus.  This increases our leverage to get two offensive provisions of the bill removed: the bank bailout and big money for campaigns provision.
 
However you decide to vote in the end, I thank those who continue to give us leverage to improve the bill.
 
Stay tuned.
At this point, roughly 50 House Republicans reportedly oppose their party’s spending package, which means Boehner will need a few dozen House Dems to get the bill through. Pelosi is, in effect, telling the GOP leadership, “Get rid of the Wall Street giveaway and the campaign-finance provision and you’ll have the votes you need.”
 
But Boehner, to put it mildly, isn’t willing to move the bill to the left to pick up Democratic votes, and he can’t move it to the right to pick up Republican votes without killing the bill’s chances in the Senate.
 
So, shutdown? Maybe not.  As far the Speaker’s office is concerned, the fallback plan is a three-month extension of current funding, which means they’ll start the fight all over again in February, keeping the status quo in place until then. Boehner figures he can probably get his members to endorse that, along with a promise of more fights in the new year.
 
Nothing is certain right now, but it’s worth noting that the shutdown deadline is now eight hours away and Congress appears to have no idea what it’s doing.
 

Government Shutdowns, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi

House GOP stumbling towards shutdown deadline