Robert Costa reports on the mood within the Republican leadership last night after John Boehner called a meeting to finally concede that he didn’t have enough votes to pass Plan B:
Boehner’s speech to the group was short and curt: He said his plan didn’t have enough support, and that the House would adjourn until after Christmas, perhaps even later. But it was Boehner’s tone and body language that caught most Republicans off guard. The speaker looked defeated, unhappy, and exhausted after hours of wrangling. He didn’t want to fight. There was no name-calling. As a devout Roman Catholic, Boehner wanted to pray. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,” he told the crowd, according to attendees.
….Boehner and his leadership team soon departed. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP whip, who hours earlier was meeting with on-the-fence members over Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his office, left the Capitol looking distressed. So did Eric Cantor, the majority leader, who had spent the past two days wooing backbenchers. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Budget Committee chairman and recent Republican vice-presidential candidate, strolled out of the Capitol with Representative Tom Price of Georgia, a popular conservative who has expressed his unhappiness with Boehner’s cliff strategy. The pair declined to discuss the drama, but they both looked tired and frustrated.
“It’s the continuing dumbing down of the Republican Party, and we are going to be seen, more and more, as a bunch of extremists that can’t even get the majority of our own people to support the policies we’re putting forward,” [Rep. Steven LaTourette] said. “If you’re not a governing majority, you’re not going to be a majority very long.”
Members sat stunned by the speaker’s admission, unsure of what it meant for the fiscal cliff negotiations. The speaker pledged to call the president, said one attendee, but few members had high hopes House Republicans could cut a deal or pass legislation. “Well, I don’t know that there is a next step. We’re not coming back until after Christmas and maybe never,” said LaTourette, who’s retiring.
There you have it. Merry Christmas, everyone.