Yes, House Republicans supported the fiscal cliff deal

House Speaker John Boehner is taking a lot of heat for the fact that 151 House Republicans voted against the fiscal cliff deal while a mere 85 Republicans voted for it. That means he brought a deal to the floor that two-thirds of his members hated! It means he broke the Hastert rule, in which the speaker of the House brings bills to the floor only when a majority of his party's members support it!

No, it doesn't. 


Yes, Boehner's members supported passage of the deal. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

House Republicans supported the passage of the fiscal cliff deal. That's why they let Boehner bring it to the floor. He offered them a chance to amend it, but warned that if the House altered the deal, it was unlikely the Senate would take up the new measure and House Republicans would be blamed for pushing the country over the fiscal cliff. His members blinked. They endorsed his plan to bring the final deal to the floor knowing that once it got to the floor, the Democrats would provide enough votes to ensure it would pass. 

What we saw, in other words, wasn't Boehner betraying the will of most House Republicans. It's that what most House Republicans wanted was for the fiscal cliff deal to pass without them having to provide the votes to pass it. A majority of the majority favored passage of the fiscal cliff deal, even if they didn't favor voting "yes' themselves, and that's why the bill was sent to the floor without being amended. 

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Sarah Kliff · January 4, 2013

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