Pretty slimey, even for Boehner. He scheduled a "vote" on the bipartisan Senate bill to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and a scheduled pay cut to Medicare doctors - but he's using an arcane House procedure by which no one can actually vote to pass the bill. The vote can kill the bill, but the vote can't pass the bill. It's weird. A friend emails me a better explanation:
Just to review what is going on with the floor procedure in the House: the bottom line is that after announcing that they would hold an up-or-down vote on passage of the Senate's bipartisan compromise, Republicans have reversed course and are now refusing to hold an up-or-down vote.That means that Boehner was afraid his own members might join Democrats in voting in a bipartisan manner for the bill. So he rigged the process in a way that even a majority of those present - hell, even all of those voting - couldn't pass the bipartisan Senate plan.
The Rule that was reported out last night only allows for consideration of a “motion to disagree with the Senate Amendments.” Under this scenario, it is impossible for the House to vote to pass the bill.
Anyone in favor of the bill, votes “no” (because he/she is voting against the motion to disagree). But even if 218 members vote “no” (which again, in this case means yes), nothing happens. The bill does not pass.
In other words, there is no “up” in the “up-or-down.” It is heads I win, tails you lose
What's the upshot? That House Republicans are preparing to give every working American a hefty tax hike after Christmas. The average worker will pay $1000 more in taxes next year because of the House Republicans' games, and the economic may take as large as a 1.5 percentage point hit to GDP as well, which is already pretty dangerous since we're in a Depression.
More on this cute little maneuver.