My new piece from last night was all about the vote counts for the possible debt limit increase bills. It seemed, yesterday, that the Boehner plan lacked the votes to pass the House, because conservatives were skeptical of it and thought if they beat it they could refocus attention on Cut, Cap, and Balance. If that happened, John Boehner would lose his leverage; the discussion of a deal would move over to Harry Reid’s plan.
For that reason, I think the forced delay caused by the rewriting of the Boehner plan is a good thing. The vote will be Thursday, which will give Boehner more time to round up votes. He started the round-up with a statement promising “no more smoke-and-mirrors, no more ‘phantom cuts,’” which is what conservatives were afraid they were getting, like they got with the CR. If this moves even three votes, it might be enough.
All Boehner has to contend with is news like this:
Thanks to an inflow of tax payments and maneuvering by the Treasury Department, the government probably can continue to pay all of its bills for several days after Aug. 2, providing potentially critical breathing room for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, according to estimates by several Wall Street banks and a Washington think tank.
The consensus is that the government won’t run short of money until Aug. 10, when it would be unable to cut millions of Social Security checks without borrowing more money.
Jim DeMint’s argument is that conservatives can keep killing deals through August 2, at which point they’ll get leverage again.