It’s an open secret in Washington that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wants Speaker of the House John Boehner’s job.That’s why it’s no surprise that Cantor put Boehner on the spot today, by quitting talks with the Obama Administration on raising the debt ceiling.
Ezra Klein of The Washington Post writes that Cantor didn’t quit because the talks weren’t going well — in fact both he and the White House acknowledge they have made significant progress on identifying spending cuts to accompany a hike in the debt ceiling.
But Cantor, the darling of the Republican caucus’ 80 freshmen members — many elected with the support of the “Tea Party” — doesn’t want to have his hands on a deal that includes anything that can be construed as a tax increase.
Boehner designated Cantor as the House GOP representative to negotiate a deal with Vice President Joe Biden, in part, to make him take ownership of the outcome, wrote National Journal’s Major Garrett last month. “Boehner gave up some of his power to protect it, he said. “The debt deal must have Cantor’s fingerprints on it.”
Cantor today took his fingerprints off of it. The ball now is in Boehner’s court.
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