Well, the cliff deal has passed in the Senate and we've had a wide variety of reactions here, ranging from pleasure to relief to dismay to outright whining and hysteria. But all of this may be premature. Because there's still the House to clear and as the NYT makes clear, that is no sure thing:
The House Speaker, John A. Boehner, and the Republican House leadership said the House would "honor its commitment to consider the Senate areement." But, they added, "decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members - and the American people - have been able to review the legislation."Sounds like the Drunk Weepy Oompa-Loompa has learned a lesson from last weeks Plan B debacle. Don't say you can pass something if you're not sure you have the votes. And right now, there is no guarantee of that.
Even with that cautions assessment, Republican House aides said a vote Tuesday was possible.
On the GOP side, the pitfalls are, of course, obvious. If this reply from Rep. Jason Chaffetz is any indication, the teabaggers are pretty much guaranteed to oppose this deal (especially since the "no" votes in the Senate included such Tea Party stalwarts as Rand Paul and Mike Lee, not to mention Marco Rubio, continuing his delicate balancing act of being with the teabaggers, yet not one of them). And if enough Republicans say no, then this bill with have to pass with Democratic votes.
But even there, there's no guarantee. Sure, Nancy Pelosi has signed off on this deal, but this from Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont (one of the deputy whips for the Democrats) is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Welch, a chief deputy minority whip, said he remained personally unsure whether he would support the compromise bill, which the Senate passed early Tuesday in a 89-8 vote.That's far short of saying "this bill is a done deal and is going to pass." But given the attitude of the other side, who can blame Welch for being hesitant. From the same Hill piece, here's everyone's favorite new teabagger to hate, Rep. Tim Huelskamp:
But House lawmakers may decide it's better to accept a flawed bill on taxes and spending than see the nation go over the cliff, he said.
"I think it will pass. That's my guess, because I think there will probably be enough Democratic support for it," Welch said on MSNBC.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a conservative, told CNN on Tuesday he would vote no on the legislation.I'm not sure little Timmy knows much of anything, but he's making the uncertainty of this passing all the more clearer.
"This deal will increase spending and it does nothing for our fundamental overspending problem," Huelskamp said.
"I don't know if it it going to pass the House."
Steven Benen has a list of possible scenarios as to what might happen today:
The first is the possibility that the House may try to amend the Senate version, make it more right-wing to satisfy House Republicans, and then send it back to the upper chamber with an ultimatum: pass the House version or else. If this happens, the agreement will quickly unravel.So hold off on your reactions, folks. This thing is by no means over. Stay tuned...
The second is the conundrum the Speaker faces. If the vast majority of his caucus opposes the Senate deal, does Boehner try to pass it anyway with a sliver of GOP votes and Democratic support? If he does, Boehner may put his career in jeopardy - House leadership votes are 48 hours away - and he knows it.
And finally, another delay in the vote itself is also possible. The House originally intended to vote yesterday, and then pushed it today. If the vote is postponed until Thursday, Boehner and GOP leaders may have an easier time of passing the bill - a new Congress with a larger Democratic minority will have been sworn in, and this group of lawmakers may be more amenable to compromise than the current crew.
Of course, if the House does wait, the Senate will have to vote again on the bill it approved overnight - and that vote would also be with its new members.