‘The most insane situation I’ve ever seen’

His speech to the nation on Monday.
His speech to the nation on Monday.
Speaker Boehner/Flickr

It’s not clear yet whether House Republicans are going to back up and try again on Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling bill, which didn’t have enough support as of last night and so didn’t get the vote it was scheduled for. Last night was weird, even for people who’ve been around the Capitol for awhile. John Stanton of Roll Call tweeted, “This is by far the most insane situation I’ve ever seen folks in all my years on capitol hill.”

That puts House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s remarks in a little more context. You’d expect the minority party to jump on a failure by the majority. But what accounts for sheer failure to run the process right? “Yeah, I would have thought that if they had started the debate that they would have known if they had had the votes or not,” Ms. Pelosi said late on Thursday.

Speaker Boehner lost his caucus, at least last night, over large ideological issues and rather small stuff, too. The Hill reports that Republicans were angry over supplemental funding for Pell Grants, which help lower-income people go to college:

This has shocked some conservative House freshmen who say they were elected to cut spending, not increase it. Some House Republicans think of it as being akin to welfare.

“I really don’t understand why we’re increasing spending in a bill supposed to be cutting spending,” said Rep. Andy Harris, a freshman Republican from Maryland. “It was negotiated without the input of a lot of members.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the Pell Grant money was there as a way to attract Democratic support – it was a compromise. And that’s not something Mr. Boehner’s caucus is racing to do.

Eric Cantor, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner

'The most insane situation I've ever seen'