In stuffy old Washington, D.C., it seems a few carefully deployed swears can be remarkably effective. After many conservatives openly defied House Speaker John Boehner and refused to support his plan to raise the debt limit with seven days to go till the default deadline, Boehner corralled House Republicans in a private meeting Wednesday and demanded, "Get your ass in line." At that moment, it seems, the kids realized that dad's mad. "Republicans emerged from the meeting appearing to be more unified," ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports. "At least a few of them who went into the meeting opposed to Boehner's plan, including archconservative Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., came out saying they would support it."
Roll Call's John Stanton reports that Boehner's "arm twisting" is starting to show results. Tea Partier Rep. Allen West told Stanton, "I think there's a pretty good change of heart." In fact, he'd "almost put my retirement check" on a bet that the bill will pass. And Rep. Blake Farenthold, who had said he was leaning toward voting no, is now merely undecided.
More fascinating, Politico's John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman report that GOP lawmakers are shifting the focus of their anger from their more moderate leaders to the more conservative activists. After revelations that staffers* for the conservative Republican Study Committee emailed outside groups to get them to urge Republican lawmakers to vote down Boehner's plan, a meeting erupted in chants of, "Fire him, Fire him!" Lawmakers took turns yelling at RSC aides.
It appears the Teller was going after some of the RSC's own members. Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the RSC, apologized for the emails, but Rep. Renee Ellmers, a target member, still threatened to quit. "[W]hen it comes time for a little bit of compromise on the RSC's part, they’re not willing to compromise. And that's just not the way to go about this," Ellmers said. Well, then. We may avoid economic apocalypse just yet.
That is, if Democrats will allow it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that zero Senate Democrats will vote for Boehner's plan, CNN reports. Reid called it "a big wet kiss to the right wing."
Update: Instead, he's going to "tweak" his own debt ceiling proposal to cut another $200 billion from the deficit, Roll Call reports. The Congressional Budget Office found Reid's plan would cut $2.2 billion, not $2.7 billion as he'd claimed.
Update II: Brian Straessle, communications director for the RSC, emails to say that it was not Paul Teller, the group's executive director, who sent the emails that sparked Republicans "Fire him!" outburst, as earlier reported, but a junior staffer. Straessle writes, "This has never been--and never will be--the way we do business at the RSC. We apologize to everyone affected, and we have already taken steps to ensure that it never happens again--either by this staffer or any other RSC staffer."