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After a second meeting of the House Republican conference, House Speaker John Boehner has apparently hit on a solution to opposition in his caucus to the Senate fiscal cliff curb deal.
House GOPers will first attempt to find out if they have 218 GOP votes in the conf. for an AMENDED Sen bill w/spending cuts... If not... — @chucktodd via TweetDeck
...the House GOP will then bring the Senate bill to the House FLOOR as is for a straight up-or-down vote. — @chucktodd via TweetDeck
What's that mean? There will need to be 218 Republicans willing to kill the deal by voting to amend the Senate bill and send it back. The Senate leadership has called an amended bill DOA, so if the House amends it, they kill it. If there aren't enough votes to do that, there will be an up-or-down, simple majority vote on the Senate bill.
It's a pretty rational way out for Boehner. He gives Cantor and his crowd their chance to vote, their chance to blow the place up, and if they can't do it, he can break the Hastert rule—the necessity of having a majority of the House majority caucus to bring a bill to the floor—with the up-or-down vote on the Senate bill. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says there are enough Democrats supporting it to put it over. Which means it's probably going to pass. But anything can happen with this House, so who knows?
4:20 PM PT: Boehner may have figured his way out of this.
GOP House member: whip count will show amended Senate bill w/more spending cuts can't pass. "We'll put Senate bill on floor. It will pass"