Fiscal Cliff House Vote - When it will happen, key details


Now that the Senate has washed its hands of the fiscal cliff negotiations (passing a compromise deal 89-8 in the wee hours of the new year), all eyes are on the House to see if and when the Republicans will bring the bill to a vote.

The Speaker has the power to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. He can bring it as a strictly up/down vote (something Pelosi and the Democrats have called for this afternoon) or Boehner can allow amendments to the bill.

If the bill is amended, it would have to go back to the Senate for approval. Considering the effort put into getting the bill past the Senate, it is highly unlikely that an amended bill (likely with additional spending cuts) would make it through the Senate.

Democratic leadership in the Senate has been abundantly clear, saying that if the House amends the bill, it is dead on arrival in the Senate and the 112th Congress will plunge us off the cliff.

Following caucus meetings earlier this afternoon, Republicans seemed very reluctant to vote for the Senate bill. Multiple members expressed surprise at the lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) openly stated that he did not support the bill, though he did not state whether he will vote for it.

Information coming from the Republican caucus suggests that there are currently 20-50 Republican votes in favor, which could potentially pass the bill if all Democrats voted in favor (unlikely).

We'll learn this afternoon whether Boehner opens the bill up for amendment. If the bill comes to the floor with the possibility for amendment, it's over and we're going off the cliff. If the bill is brought for a straight up/down vote, then its a numbers game and we'll have to see whether Boehner can cajole enough Republicans to join Pelosi's Democrats to cobble together a majority.