By Greg Campbell
The events following the news of the defeat dealt to Speaker of the House John Boehner have been no less turbulent than the events before Congress adjourned.
On Thursday, as Boehner tried to rally support for his “Plan B” tax hike proposal, things got heated between two rival factions of the GOP. With moderates looking to compromise on raising taxes during a time of economic uncertainty, the conservative wing of the GOP had made it clear that tax hikes were out of the question, citing tax-and-spend antics as being a central cause of our current economic crisis.
Plan B was pulled from the floor before it could be voted on due to lack of support. Boehner met with Republican leaders in a closed-door meeting before finally recessing Thursday. While still expressing hope that a deal can be struck, Boehner stated, “How we get there, God only knows.”
The bill is almost certainly doomed, not having gained enough traction with Republican leaders in the House for acquiescing to Democratic demands for tax increases and not having the support of Democrats in the Senate.
It is reported that anonymous Republican members of the House are working on an effort to oust Boehner as the Speaker, but little else is known as reprisal is a major concern, especially after the recent purge of conservative leaders from leadership positions by Boehner.
Tempers flared before the recess as moderate Republican leaders implored conservatives to vote for the compromise. According to reports, Pennsylvania Republican Mike Kelly passionately questioned, “Is this the best we can do? Is this the best we can do for John Boehner?”
However, in truth, Kelly could not really be surprised as conservatives had made their displeasure with the bill known for some time. Earlier this month, leading Tea Party members and fiscal conservatives met with conservative members of Congress to submit 160,000 petitions demanding no tax increases.
Perhaps the strongest words for conservatives were uttered by Ohio Republican Steve LaTourette who, when referring to conservative members of the GOP, said,
“It’s the same 40 chuckleheads that screwed this place up… [Boehner’s] done everything to make nice with them.”
Though both Boehner and Obama have claimed to remain optimistic, the facts suggest that little will change before the end of the year. Obama implored members of Congress to take another shot at reaching an agreement and Boehner relayed a similar sentiment, but both have left the state to spend the holidays elsewhere. Though they both return before the deadline of January 1st, it is unlikely that factional stances will dramatically shift in a matter of days.