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July 25, 2011

Boehner Bets Everything on His Caucus

House Speaker John Boehner is planning to introduce a two-step plan to raise the debt ceiling, but First Read notes he's "counting on passing this in the House with Republicans only" despite the fact that the House GOP leadership "has quietly argued they need Democratic votes to a get plan passed in the House."

Nate Silver explains Boehner math problem noting Republicans "have 240 members in the House, and 217 votes are currently required to pass a bill. That means they could lose at most 23 votes, or about 10 percent of their caucus, assuming they picked up no Democratic support. Mr. Boehner had previously indicated, however, that at least 59 Republicans would not vote to raise the debt limit under any circumstances, a number that appears to coincide with the 60 Republicans who are members of the Tea Party Caucus."

The bottom line: "If the vote on Mr. Boehner's proposal fails, the risks to him are clear. It would presumably rattle markets, while making him look ineffectual. Most importantly, it would demonstrate that Republicans could not pass a bill, even through the House, without Democratic support, which would substantially reduce their leverage, as Mr. Boehner explicitly acknowledged in the conference call."


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