House Minority Leader John Boehner took a lot of guff from conservatives for muddying the waters temporarily on the Bush tax cuts. But to his credit, he corrected his course. When the Democrats revolted en masse, Boehner was spared further grief. Well, today he got points for some clever gamesmanship:
House Democrats on Wednesday barely won a 210-209 vote to adjourn the House without extending the Bush tax cuts.
Thirty-nine House Democrats voted against adjournment after Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged opposition to the motion in a floor speech that said it would be irresponsible for Congress to leave without providing certainty on the tax issue. Dozens of Democrats in tough races voted against adjourning. …
Boehner’s floor speech turned the vote on adjournment into a referendum on the tax cuts, which has divided Democrats for months. President Obama wants to extend tax cuts for families making less than $250,000, while allowing taxes to rise on income above that threshold. Many centrist Democrats have joined Republicans in arguing for extending all of the tax cuts.
You can see the ads now: Congressman X voted to go home rather than keep taxes from going up. (“Members who voted to adjourn were ‘putting their election above the needs of your constituents,’ Boehner said in his speech. ‘Vote no on this adjournment resolution. Give Congress the chance to vote on extending tax rates.’”)
It’s really hard to imagine how the Democrats could have handled this any worse.