As you hear about developments this week towards an agreement on FY2011 spending or a government shutdown, keep asking yourself these questions:
1. Can John Boehner convince his tea party members to vote for a deal with the White House?
2. If Boehner can't convince his tea party folks to support the deal, can he get them to understand/forgive his working with Democrats to get the CR passed and avoid a government shutdown?
3. Is there any way for Boehner to broker a deal with the White House that will pass the House that doesn't require him having to support it himself?
4. Will the White House and House Democrats allow Boehner to not support the deal or will they insist that he publicly declare his love and affection for it?
5. What price will House Democrats demand to vote with Boehner on the CR and provide the votes to pass it?
And then ask yourself the following questions about what happens next:
1. If Boehner compromises with the White House and the tea party doesn't like it, will a deal on the debt ceiling become more difficult because Boeh
I was told on February 28th when I spoke at the House tea party caucus (described here on CG&G) that the tea party folks in Virginia didn't trust either Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) or Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). The statement about Cantor was more startling and important because the chairwoman of the tea party in the commonwealth is from his congressional district and she was one of the people who spoke at the meeting.
So it's anything but surprising that, as David Rogers and Jake Sherman reported late yesterday in Politico (hat tip, Ezra Klein), Cantor seems to be moving with a vengeance toward the tea party and away from Boehner in the budget negotiations. Indeed, given what I heard at the tea party caucus, Cantor's political survival may depend on him doing that.
I'm curious about two things that Rogers and Sherman didn't discuss.
Over at TPM, Brian Buetler has this gem of a story about how House Republicans are "Preparing to Reject Final White House Budget Offer." The post is worth reading in its entirety if for no other reason than to confirm that the House GOP isn't interested in doing anything if it can't be characterized as total capitulation by House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and the White House. As Ezra Klein says over at his blog at The Washington Post,
Reading this, you really wouldn’t know that Democrats, who control both the White House and the Senate, technically have a lot more power than Republicans, who only control the House. At the very least, no one appears to have told this to the Republicans.
My column from this morning's Roll Call explains why and how what House Republicans are doing to themselves on the budget in 2011 is what they did on a smaller scale in the late 1970s. It didn't work out well back then either.
GOP Has Put Itself Into a Corner on the Budget
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
March 29, 2011, Midnight
Bruce had one of his, as usual, very astute columns in The Fiscal Times last week (posted here on CG&G) about how the tea party wing of the Republican Party is about to force the GOP’s hand on the budget.