When I asked a senior adviser in the House Republican leadership how the revised Boehner bill with the balanced budget amendment was going to fly in the Senate, he responded: “One of my favorite political truisms is Conquest’s Second Law: ‘The behavior of an organization can best be predicted by assuming it to be controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.’ ” Well, that’s certainly been the case in the last week or so, but is there some scheme to actually get this to work?
The House and Senate Republicans have different takes on this. Republicans in the House with knowledge of the speaker’s approach suggest that by including the balanced budget amendment, the House will give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell additional leverage to get a bill acceptable to the faction of 12 who have refused to sign anything without such an amendment passed and sent to the states. But frankly it is not clear at all what the end game is.
Over in the Senate, an adviser to a senior Republican senator predicts: “Because Dems wouldn’t release any votes in the House, Boehner now has to do this with just Republicans. Reid will table this and I eagerly await Reid’s plan.”
You can guess that there is already some deal in the works between McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). You can imagine the House obstructionists need a way to step down from the limb that they have walked out on. There are dozens of ways this could play out. But for now, Boehner, though slightly bruised, now seems back on track to claim a win.