After a second meeting of the House Republican conference, House Speaker John Boehner has apparently hit on a solution to opposition in his caucus to the Senate fiscal
cliff curb deal.
What's that mean? There will need to be 218 Republicans willing to kill the deal by voting to amend the Senate bill and send it back. The Senate leadership has called an amended bill DOA, so if the House amends it, they kill it. If there aren't enough votes to do that, there will be an up-or-down, simple majority vote on the Senate bill.
It's a pretty rational way out for Boehner. He gives Cantor and his crowd their chance to vote, their chance to blow the place up, and if they can't do it, he can break the Hastert rule—the necessity of having a majority of the House majority caucus to bring a bill to the floor—with the up-or-down vote on the Senate bill. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says there are enough Democrats supporting it to put it over. Which means it's probably going to pass. But anything can happen with this House, so who knows?
4:20 PM PT: Boehner may have figured his way out of this.