The debt-ceiling agreement also committed Congress and the White House to identifying an additional $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years or face automatic spending cuts, or “sequester,” on Jan. 1, 2013. Again, Boehner negotiated privately with Obama to work out a deal to avert tax hikes and spending cuts that economists said would plunge the nation back into recession.
Two weeks ago, at least 50 GOP conservatives scuttled Boehner’s “Plan B,” which would have extended Bush-era tax cuts to most taxpayers but allowed taxes to rise on income of more than $1 million. Boehner’s inability to rally his own caucus behind the plan, an alternative to Obama's plan to cap extending Bush-era tax cuts at $250,000, ended Boehner's role in the negotiations, which flipped to the Senate. In the end, the House voted on a compromise debt deal worked out between Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Vice President Joe Biden.
The vote this week on the Senate deal threw House Republicans into even more disarray. Most committee chairs, including Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, voted with Boehner to support the Senate bill. But 151 Republicans – more than 60 percent of the caucus – including majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and majority whip Kevin McCarthy of California opposed the Senate bill, which called for the first hike in federal income tax rates in 20 years