The very last moment of drama of the payroll tax extension fight in Washington comes later this morning, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tries to stave off an insurrection in his own ranks and seal the deal he agreed to yesterday.
The Speaker’s problem: The House will move to pass the payroll tax cut extension by “unanimous consent,” which means that if just a single member of the House stands up to request a recorded vote, the deal is scotched for today. Boehner has said he will bring the full House back next week for a recorded vote if that happens this morning.
The chance to be the single member blocking this deal on the national stage could be appealing to any number of obscure members of the House. It could also be an opportunity for the Tea Party to reassert itself on the national debt debate.
But any representative who actually takes that step risks earning the enmity of the GOP leadership and maybe of their own colleagues, who would be forced to fly back to Washington during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
If Boehner is forced to call the House back that week, it could be a blow to his leadership in the House, but the bill would likely pass in any case.
Privately House aides say they think the Speaker has his votes locked down in advance of this morning’s session, but this has been an unpredictable political fight from the beginning.
The Senate is scheduled to hold a voice vote on the payroll tax extension measure first, followed by the House. Stock futures were positive Friday, in part because of optimism about the Congressional deal.