Why did a fiscal cliff deal originate with Senate Republicans in the first place? you might ask. Especially since the roadblock to a deal has been the House GOP all along.
Here’s an important part of the answer: Boehner himself kicked the problem over to the Senate, as Brian Beutler reminds us here.
Here’s the statement Boehner released on Dec. 26:
The House has acted on two bills which collectively would avert the entire fiscal cliff if enacted. Those bills await action by the Senate. If the Senate will not approve and send them to the president to be signed into law in their current form, they must be amended and returned to the House. Once this has occurred, the House will then consider whether to accept the bills as amended, or to send them back to the Senate with additional amendments. The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act.
There’s a lot there, and a lot of different ways to read it. But make no mistake that Boehner and other like-minded Republicans in the House were looking for Mitch McConnell to get them out of this mess. McConnell threw them a lifeline early this morning, just as they’d asked. This afternoon, the House GOP refused it.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.