House Republicans postponed a vote on speaker Boehner's plan to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit because Republicans didn't have the vtoes to pass it. This morning, it appeared that Boehner was somewhere between two to 10 votes short of passing the bill.
"Last night, steady procession of recalcitrant lawmakers, some on the fence, some no, marching into the office of the speaker and the majority whip," Hawkings says.
Boehner isn't inclined to bring a bill to the floor until he's absolutely sure he has the votes, he adds. "When Tom DeLay was the whip, two votes short was nothing for him, Boehner, he's got a different approach, and a little less clout."
If Boehner's bill does pass in the House, it is almost sure to fail in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reached out publicly to Sen. Mitch McConnell this morning to try to broach a deal.
"Senators Reid and McConnell are really the keys to this, whether they can negotiate something that has a chance of passing," he says.
"On the House side, Speaker Boehner needs to show he can get something through now so he can show that he survives to do the even harder job of getting the so-called real deal through, which is expected to move right up against the deadline."
The difficulty Boehner has had convincing his own GOP colleagues to vote for the bill begs the question of whether he's likely to stay in the role of speaker going forward.
"Uniformly, Republicans think the speaker is doing a good job," Hawkings says. "And his main rival, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is his deputy. The two of them were pretty far apart on this, but they're now very much on the same page ... there does not seem to be any threat to his speakership at this point."