Last night, the House approved the Senate’s deal to avert the fiscal cliff. The House voted 257-167 with only 85 Republicans voting in favor.
With increased stimulus spending coupled with no real spending cuts, the deal serves as an embarrassing loss for Republicans as the deal raises taxes and does nothing to cut spending in any meaningful way. Because of this, Republican leadership may be up for grabs.
Last night’s vote comes only weeks after Speaker of the House John Boehner’s power-grab, where he purged conservative leaders from financial committee positions to eliminate opposition. Boehner’s “Plan B” was never brought to a vote due to lack of support from conservative House members. Now that a deal has been passed that serves as a defeat for Republicans, Boehner’s position is in trouble.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy broke with Boehner and Paul Ryan and publicly denounced the bill. The willingness to so publicly break with Boehner perhaps signals a potential challenge for the Speakership, perhaps as early as Thursday, when the new Congress convenes.
American Majority Action spokesman Ron Meyer has claimed that enough Republican leaders have met to unseat Boehner. He stated,
“At least 20 House Republican members have gotten together, discussed this and want to unseat Speaker Boehner–and are willing to do what it takes to do it. That’s more than enough to get the job done, but the one problem these guys face is they need a leader to coalesce behind.”
Meyer also claimed that conservative leaders are considering backing Cantor for the job.
In the aftermath of November’s elections, it was widely claimed that “elections have consequences.” While this is true, with Boehner’s leadership being called into serious question and his position in jeopardy, it appears that votes have consequences as well.