“The house has concluded business for the week,” said Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA) Thursday evening as that chamber failed to pass the so-called “Plan B” bill proposed by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). The plan would have extended the Bush tax cuts for people making $1 million or less. Boehner cancelled a scheduled vote this evening after it dawned on him that he simply didn’t have the votes. The House is now in recess until after Christmas and we get closer to that “fiscal cliff.”
As usual, the ineffective House Speaker placed the blame on the Democrats in the Senate and President Obama. Though the House did manage to pass two bills addressing the issue earlier this week, Boehner lost 21 Republican votes on one of them. He expected this vote to be close but, apparently, not this close.
On Thursday Boehner claimed that the problem is Obama, that he is “unwilling to stand up to his own party.” “I did my part — they did nothing,” Boehner said, seemingly enjoying the role of martyr.
One interesting bit of inner politics that seems to be going on is a challenge for the role of Speaker from Rep. Cantor. Though they have been “lovey-dovey” this past week, according to insiders, Cantor may be involved in behind-the-scene machinations on these votes. Cantor leans towards the “Tea Party” caucus of the Republican party while Mr. Boehner is attempting to pull all the cliques of the party together.
If the President and Rep. Bohener can’t come to an agreement, the Bush tax cuts will end for everyone. Tax rates will return to pre-Bush rates and, additionally, cuts will automatically be applied to the defense budget, among others. This is what we get when Congress kicks the can down the road like they did last summer. We get a Congress that is ineffectual at best and downright harmful at worst. Let’s hope that a Christmas break will clear some heads and that when Congress returns to work next week, they will finally get serious. What a nice Christmas present that would be.