One of the most influential conservatives in Congress says he’s confident his own Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will lack the votes to pass his plan to raise the debt limit in the House of Representatives.
Complicating matters further for Boehner — the Dems’ top vote counter wryly suggested at a simultaneous press briefing that few, if any, Democrats will vote for the GOP’s bill, since there is a preferable Democratic plan waiting in the wings. That suggests House conservatives are holding the line against any debt limit increase that can plausibly pass the Senate — and that Democrats will have added leverage to muscle their own plan through both chambers.
“I am confident as of this morning that there are not 218 Republicans in support of the plan,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told reporters at a Tuesday morning press briefing.
Two-hundred eighteen votes is the usual number required to pass legislation in the House. Because of vacancies, that number is currently 217. That means Boehner can lose no more than 23 Republicans and still pass his plan that would raise the debt limit and set the country up for another default crisis early in 2012.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said “very few” if any Democrats will join Boehner. “I don’t want to give a number, but very few.”
Asked if Boehner’s plan can pass without Democratic help, Hoyer chuckled, “We’ll see. I don’t know, but we’ll see I think. I think we’ll see.”
Benjy Sarlin contributed to this report.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.