After spending all day trying to get House Republicans behind his debt plan, John Boehner is planning to spend all night reworking it. It wasn’t the tepid response from his own caucus that convinced him to rewrite the bill (though the response was indeed tepid, especially from tea partiers), but a report from the CBO that said Boehner’s plan would reduce the deficit by only $851 billion over the next ten years, rather than the $1 trillion it promised. The bill also calls for an immediate $900 million increase in the debt ceiling, meaning it violates Boehner’s own promise to cut more money from the deficit than is added to the debt ceiling. This little snafu has caused the vote on the bill to be pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday while Boehner tries to find additional cuts and cleans all that messy egg off his face.
Boehner’s bill, say analysts, won’t look all that different from the one proposed by Democrat Harry Reid. But that’s not because either has been seized by the spirit of compromise; it’s more like they have been worn down. As one Cato Institute scholar told the Washington Post, “We’re down to fifth- and sixth-best options now. When you get down there, you take what you can get.” The crucial difference between the Boehner and Reid plans is the amount the debt ceiling would be raised: Reid’s plan would give it enough room to last through the 2012 election, while Boehner’s would require another round of debt-limit talks in a year. Because this whole experience has been so enjoyable?