Can John Boehner Deliver?

There doesn't seem to be much doubt that, as bad as it is for Democrats, the debt deal struck last night should have little trouble passing the Senate. But what about the House? House passage represents the crucial final step of this arduous and seemingly endless process, since President Obama is sure to sign the bill. But John Boehner's difficulty passing his own debt bill last week should stand as a reminder that you can never take anything for granted, especially when it concerns House Republicans. One worrisome precedent is the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Despite the atmosphere of crisis, TARP failed the first time it was voted on in the House. Markets then, as they are today, were already in a state of turmoil and responded to that failure by dropping 778 points in a single day. What many people forget is that it was Republican House members who refused to vote for that bill -- and that John Boehner was the leader who could not deliver them (for a Republican president) when it counted. It may well be different this time around. The early buzz this morning is that the bill is expected to pass the House with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes. But it's worth bearing in mind that the TARP vote looms large in the minds of many conservatives --and not because its failure roiled the markets, but because its eventual success turned out to be a black mark on the record of so many of the Republicans who voted for it.

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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