House Speaker John Boehner will likely pass his plan to raise the debt ceiling--shelved Thursday night because he couldn't get the votes--by adding a provision that would require a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution to pass both chambers of Congress and be sent to the states for ratification before the limit is raised a second time. Fifty-three senators had already promised to vote down Boehner's plan before the amendment was added, so, as Teagan Goddard writes, "ironically, it seems the only way to pass the bill in the House is to make it more unacceptable to the Senate." And yet the tweaked version of Boehner's bill is still not tough enough for some House conservatives, because the amendment wouldn't require a two-thirds majority in Congress to raise taxes.
If it works, Republicans can say what they wanted to say yesterday: "We've passed two bills, and the Senate hasn't passed anything." But they'd be in a weaker position than they were yesterday, because they've proven that they can't pass a bill without a BBA hostage situation. How would markets react to the threat of an early 2012 debt limit vote that requires a supermajority for passage? We'll never find out. All we found out this morning is that Boehner is as weak as Democrats said he was in his relationship with conservatives.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.