This morning, during a Capitol Hill press conference, John Boehner attempted to save face after last night’s rejection of “Plan B” by House conservatives. But rather than directly addressed the failed vote, he shifted blame to Senate Democrats — and the White House — for not acting. “We’ve already passed bills addressing the fiscal cliff,” said Boehner, “We passed a bill to stop all tax hikes on the American people scheduled to take effect on January 1st, and we did that on August 1st.”
Ultimately, Boehner said, Republicans “only run the House.” It’s Democrats that “control Washington,” and thus, it’s up to them to either accept Republican proposals, or craft solutions that will pass muster with congressional conservatives.
The problem, as we saw last night, is that there is a wing of House Republicans who refuse to accept any tax increases on the rich, even if they’re small, and even if they only apply to the wealthiest people in America. Indeed, in trying to explain away the Plan B debacle, Boehner acknowledges this fact. “We had a number of our members who just didn’t want to be perceived as raising taxes,” he said.
So what’s next? When asked if he would be walking away from continued negotiations with President Obama, Boehner protested: “I did not say that…the president knows that I’ve always been able to deliver on any promise I’ve made with him.” Nor is he concerned about losing his speakership, “If you do the right things everyday for the right reasons, the right things will happen,” he explained, “And while we may not have been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases, I don’t think – they weren’t taking that out on me.”
Even still, this press conference did little to clear up what Boehner is willing to do to reach a compromise. As Greg noted earlier today, odds are that Boehner will have to lean on House Democrats to craft a solution, which means the result will be even further away from GOP interests than the compromise floated by President Obama earlier this week. Indeed, if odds have gone up for anything, it’s the possibility that we’ll “go over the cliff,” and restart negotiations from a new baseline. In which case, House Republicans will have, again, marginalized themselves for the sake of ideological purity.