The House is about to vote on its debt limit bill, just a few minutes after Senate Democratic leaders held a press conference to rub salt in Republican wounds.
The thrust was more or less: “We’d like to thank Speaker Boehner for his extraordinary leadership in totally caving to us, and congratulate President Obama on his enormous victory over Republicans, and we look forward to passing the House bill right away.”
Mildly speaking, that won’t help the GOP’s whip count.
Republicans don’t want to be called out for caving. And if Boehner can’t round up 217 Republican votes for this bill, Nancy Pelosi will in theory have the power to force him to pull the bill from the floor — maybe pass a completely clean bill that increases the debt limit for quite a bit longer than four months.
So Democrats are putting one last squeeze on Boehner. Wedging conservatives away from GOP leadership on one side, and keeping mum about whether House Democrats will carry the bill if Republicans come up short on the other. Given his stated willingness to take swift action on the bill if it passes, I asked Harry Reid whether he hopes House Democrats will pitch in if their votes are needed.
“We have enough problems over here,” he said. “That’s up to Ms. Pelosi and Hoyer to decide.”
And Pelosi, for her part, just urged her members to vote no.
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.