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There are three choices if the Senate manages to act.
First, Boehner and the GOP can accept a Senate deal, and let it pass the House with bipartisan support and significant conservative opposition. Such a result may endanger Boehner’s speakership. Moreover, it will leave Republicans exposed to agreeing to more tax increases when the debt limit votes happen next month.
A second alternative is for the House to amend it. Here the choices get interesting. If Boehner can rally 218 votes, the House could send back an amended bill with capital gains and dividends low rates, or a repeal of the Obamacare 3.8% surcharge, or a better estate tax, or any other other permutation. They also could raise the income threshold to to $600,000 or $700,000 or even $1 million if the intent is to push the Democrats to a breaking point-which is the third and final alternative.
If any of the amendment possibilities are to work, Boehner needs to be sure he has strong conservative support. It’s a tough undertaking with such limited time, but Boehner’s future as Speaker may depend upon it.