Eric Cantor, after his caucus nixed Boehner's 'Plan B'
Last night's abrupt demise of John Boehner's "Plan B" for avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff seems to have taken Republican leadership by complete surprise. So what happened in last night's GOP self-immolation? The short answer is, as always, that the hard-right members of the party wouldn't go along with it.
Putting that diplomatically
One source explained that while members appeared sympathetic to Boehner’s efforts, they were adamant that they wouldn’t go along with the Kabuki theater the plan entailed — passing a measure that Obama would reject; sending it to the Senate to reduce the income levels of tax increases from $1 million to something closer to $500,000 or $600,000 a year; and then re-passing the bill in the House, this time with Democratic support.
The source said that a number of lawmakers told Boehner bluntly: “If this was the final deal, I’d be there for you. But the Senate’s not going to pass it.”
So the hardliners weren't even willing to hand Boehner a Republican-backed anything
he could send to the Senate, because they were afraid that the resulting, Senate-softened bill would come back to them with things that the far-right members couldn't support—but that House Democrats might
. So they scuttled the whole thing.
That's a huge blow to Boehner, and it also suggests that there's literally no compromise to be worked out between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic Senate. Plan B was supposed to be "it" for Boehner. If his hardliners scuttled even that, there's nothing more Boehner can do that doesn't rely on Democrats bailing him out.