By Greg Campbell
Towards the end of business on Thursday, the House passed the first of two bills aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff. However, the second bill, Speaker of the House John Boehner’s “Plan B,” has failed to garner enough support, making Boehner’s leadership role in the House in serious jeopardy.
The bill passed with a narrow margin of 215-209. The bill was the less-controversial of the two bills to reach the House today as it was a bill focused on replacing proposed defense spending cuts with spending cuts elsewhere that included entitlement spending.
However, this bill served as the preamble to the much bigger expected showdown as House Republicans were sharply divided over the tax rate bill, John Boehner’s “Plan B” that has been much despised by Tea Party leaders and other fiscal conservatives.
After weeks of negotiating by Republicans, Boehner’s “Plan B” was supposed to serve as a “take it or leave it” gesture towards Obama and other Democrats who sought tax increases. The bill called for tax increases on those making $1 million.
However, the bill flies in the face of Republican principles that call for no tax increases at a time when
America is in a fiscal crisis caused by tax-and-spend antics. The bill was scheduled to be voted on today, but the House abruptly recessed- a sign that signaled trouble in store for the moderate faction of the GOP who would have a hard time gathering the necessary votes.
Conservative pundit Mark Levin claimed that Boehner and his allies were threatening conservative members of the GOP with loss of leadership positions should they continue to not support the Speaker’s plan.
If true, this could spell disaster for the Speaker, who has earned some enemies in recent weeks with his compromised positioning on tax increases as well as his willingness to silence opposition by purging conservative members of Congress from leadership positions in committees.
After a recess and some behind closed door negotiations, the vote was pulled and Congress will be out of session until after the holidays.
With the recent news, there is much talk around political circles about the future of Boehner’s role as Speaker. Having tried to ram this legislation through, and doing so unsuccessfully, he is now vulnerable to a removal and the GOP may be looking at a more conservative leader in the position of Speaker of the House.