Yesterday I read someone noodling that Republicans who cannot vote for a clean debt ceiling bill might pass a bill larded up with their favorite spending cuts, wait for the Senate to pass a clean bill and then let Boehner once again skip the Hastert rule and sneak a clean conference report through the House with Democratic support.
Republicans have proposed worse plans in recent days, but that hardly means this gambit will see the light of day. The key sticking point is that Republicans really, really want to wreck the social safety net but as much or more than that they do not want their fingerprints on the hammer. Numbers-wise the US government is basically a social safety net with a military, plus some other stuff that that only counts at the margins. If you rule out cutting the military then any serious spending reduction needs to carve a hunk off programs that serve grandma and the poors. Republicans refused to name what they wanted Obama to cut to meet their arbitrary ‘fiscal cliff’ demands and they will not name the cuts they want now. Do not waste any time wondering whether they will vote for a bill that has a villain’s wish list of safety net cuts, zero Democratic votes and no chance of becoming law. They know to fear scaremongering Medicare ads since, you know, a lot of them used those to win their seats in 2010.
Put my money on the whole issue fizzling out when Cantor and friends realize that they cannot get Obama to shoot the hostage for them.