House Republicans are none too pleased with the “fiscal cliff” legislation that passed the Senate. That’s not surprising. According to the congressional budget office, it adds $4 trillion to the deficit over a decade.
There was talk all day that House Republicans might amend the Senate bill by adding spending cuts. But the Senate has made clear that it will not take up an amended bill, meaning that sending it one would take the country over the “cliff.” It appears that not enough House Republicans are prepared to go that route.
It also seems unlikely that Speaker Boehner will refuse to give the Senate bill an up-or-down vote. The overwhelming Senate vote in favor of the legislation probably removed any doubt on this score. So the question is whether the Senate bill, unamended, can pass the House.
I don’t know the answer, but I assume that, if necessary, Nancy Pelosi will deliver whatever number of House Democrats is needed. President Obama, Senator Reid, and Pelosi herself all see this deal as a significant win. Thus, the pressure on House Dems to fall into line will be overwhelming. And, at the end of the day, House Dems are not an independent-minded lot.
If, say, 40 to 50 Republicans are prepared to vote for the Senate bill — which I suspect is the case — that should be sufficient.