House Republicans met this morning at 9 a.m. They sang “Amazing Grace,” all four verses, to put themselves in the mood—the leader of the song was Rep. Steve Southerland, a former funeral director who’s now the party’s prime mover on food stamp reform. They did not finish until 11 a.m., taking about twice as long as the party usually takes in the meetings, conducting half of it after most staff was asked to leave the room.
The plan that emerged: Don’t let the Senate move first on a debt limit bill. Pass something with conditions Republicans might like, and beat the Senate to the punch. Robert Costa has the details of the plan, which do not include the sort of structural reforms Republicans have liked in the past. Making passage look slightly less likely: Reliable conservatives, gettable on the last few plans, were nervous.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ): “We’re in an asymmetric situation. We have the House. Democrats have the Senate, the White House, and the media.” — daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 15, 2013
Rep Farenthold (R-TX) says of Senate plan “I think we’ve gone from bad to worse.” — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) October 15, 2013
Making passage look more likely: Members who are from safe seats and might be expected to vote for whatever deal emerges declined to talk to reporters.
Patrick McHenry now leaves the room shouting at reporters “Hey, there’s Tom Cotton” — Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) October 15, 2013
And sure, some conservatives boasted about what had been included in the new bill.
#GOP member tells me ultra conservatives promised to support new #GOP bill if Fed subsidies for staffers’ healthcare was repealed — Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) October 15, 2013
But as I’ll write over a few items to come, the focus was on a slimmed-down series of demands, one of them brand-new, that Democrats knocked down even before the meeting really ended.