Here’s the latest from a looong weekend of talks. The bill is expected to pass the House today and could pass the Senate as well, though they’re racing against the Jewish Holidays, which start at sundown. If they don’t make it, final passage will likely come Wednesday.
The House vote will be a bit of a nail bite. Though, with the entire GOP leadership behind it, they should get all of their safe members who aren’t rabid Republican Study Committee conservatives to vote for it and it helps that Rep. John Campbell, a California Republican and front runner to lead the RSC next year, is supporting the bill. “We’ve made it pretty clear to our members that we are supporting this bill,” Boehner told reporters yesterday. “We also have made it clear to our members we expected as many of them who could vote for this to vote for it.”
Last night’s conference meeting was grim – nearly three hours long and members that came out said the mood was somber. One tiny silver lining of having 29 members retire is that should give Boehner 29 “yes” votes since those senior spring-ers don’t have to worry about backlash from constituents. Then again, Rep. Chip Pickering, a Mississippi Republican who is retiring, made the case to his colleagues in the meeting that this is a “legacy vote,” perhaps one of the most important votes of their lives and something they will be remembered for. Pickering told reporters afterwards that he remains undecided.
Boehner, ultimately, didn’t seem too worried he wouldn’t get enough votes, though the leadership was hardly breaking a nail whipping the conference. Instead of “whip cards” members were gently asked to fill out “survey cards” and not a single member leaving the room reported any pressure to vote one was or another. “This is an individual decision for most of us,” said Rep. Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican who is leaning towards voting for the bill.