Before he gets to the
On one side of the growing rift stand pragmatic conservatives such as
Boehner’s scheme to come up with $800 billion by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy has broad, if tenuous, support in the GOP caucus, but it is not a plan that has much chance of survival. It brings in only half the revenue that would come in if Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire as they are set to do on Jan. 1. President Obama and the
Boehner has the support of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and
Chances are, Boehner will not risk his job or the anti-tax orthodoxy of his party. He may say he remains willing to seek a comprehensive budget deal in the waning days of this lame duck
If they cannot stop a tax hike for the wealthy in January, the more strident conservatives are already identifying the February deadline for raising the debt ceiling as their next point of leverage. Should the president not give them what they want in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other non-military programs, the most zealous conservatives appear willing to put the good credit of the United States at risk again. The last time they did that in 2011, the nation's credit rating was downgraded. This time the result could be worse.
Is Boehner willing to go there again or will he take a tougher line with the fire-breathers in his caucus? In recent days, he removed four tea party Republicans from key committees as punishment for going rogue. One of those House members, Rep.