Media omits 3 facts about this mis-named, major legislative story. First, this is the very bill Boehner forced on Obama and then gloated that the President gave him “98%” of what he wanted. This bill, including sequestration, is a Republican bill; crafted, approved, and accompanied at the time by much celebration as Democrats were left deflated. Now, when offered 98% of what the GOP wants on taxes, Boehner refuses to let the House vote. Looking back, Boehner and the GOP House made a bad bet.
Second, by failing to bring bills to the floor, Boehner is using the House as a shield. All appropriations bills, by the Constitution (Clause 1, Section 7, the Origination Clause), must originate in the House. In part, that is why Boehner withdrew his $1M threshold bill when he couldn’t get a GOP majority; he has insisted the negotiations begin with a bill the House has passed, so he and the GOP House can (perhaps, rightly) claim credit and the political high ground (no!) for passing the bill later signed. This is a key Boehner point!
Third, by not voting to fix their bad bet, Boehner provides cover for representatives who would have voted no. He shields them from accountability. Not having their names attached to a vote, they throw stones in the dark and mortally wound the economy, families, health care, the unemployed. They should be exposed. The media silence on the contradiction between the GOP demanding cuts and their eagerness to restore the cuts they passed omits a key element of the story, as does not pointing out the contradiction of their willingness to let taxes rise on all in an attempt to preserve tax cuts for the rich.
Barack’s vision of democracy is consistently committed to the process of governing by compromise (which some see as “caving”). Often cautious on policy, legislatively, he does take greater risks. But 2 years ago, he knew, if he won, in this legislative cycle, he would have the upper hand.