House Republicans didn’t hold their expected vote on the Senate’s two-month payroll tax cut extension last night, a hairpin turn so abrupt that Politico’s story on it is headlined, “Has John Boehner Lost Control?” The House had planned to vote down the Senate bill and push for a full-year extension, but members objected that doing so would compromise their pledge against voting for tax hikes. Instead, the House will hold a procedural vote this morning to send the matter into a conference committee with the Senate.
The move came after a two-hour caucus meeting, CNN reports. "My guess is that they are afraid that their members are not going to stick with them,” says Nancy Pelosi. The House is under extra pressure because the Senate bill passed 89-10, with most Republicans on board—five of whom openly criticized their House colleagues yesterday. Harry Reid pointed out that it was Boehner himself who demanded the Senate produce a bill. “I will not reopen negotiations until the House follows through,” Reid said.