According to a report by Dick Morris, Republican rebels scuttled a last minute attempt by Speaker John Boehner attach an amendment to the fiscal cliff deal that would have tied spending cuts to the tax increases. If the amendment had passed, it would have sent the bill back to the senate which would have had to vote to accept or reject it.
Bloomberg and CBS News also reported on Boehner’s attempt to tie the tax increases to spending cuts. According to CBS, the amendment would have required 217 Republican votes to pass. The final bill garnered 85 Republican votes and was passed primarily with Democratic support.
Among the Georgia delegation, the vote largely followed party lines. Rep. John Barrow (D-12) crossed party lines to vote against the bill and Rep. John Lewis (D-5), whose wife recently passed away, did not vote.
If the amendment had passed, it is unlikely that it would have passed the senate and the fiscal stalemate would have continued. A Democratic leadership aide told CBS, “We will absolutely not take up the House bill if they change the bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate" and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Bloomberg, “My senators have gone home.”
The Republican opposition may have been due to unwillingness to accept any tax increases as part of a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff. However, on the Dec. 21 edition of the Michael Medved Show, even Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform agreed that compromising with President Obama on tax rates for the wealthy would not be considered a vote for a tax increase because taxes were already scheduled to go up.
“They made it clear because they had a previous vote to extend it [the Bush tax rates] for everybody in the country,” Norquist told Medved, “so the two votes taken together make it very clear, we wanted to extend it for everybody, but in order to get something to the senate and get it passed, let’s extend it for as many as they [the Democrats] will allow. I mean if somebody’s thrown anybody out of the lifeboat, it’s the Democratic senate and the Democratic president….”
The Republican revolt ended quickly as the same representatives who refused to follow Speaker Boehner in fighting for spending cuts on Tuesday reelected him to a second term as speaker on Thursday. Only 12 House Republicans failed to vote for Boehner.