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Inside the Boiler Room: Boehner's Influence

NBC’s Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss Speaker Boehner’s influence within his own caucus and whether or not he can corral enough GOP House members to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff.


Thanks to Jody, Iowa for the question!

Edited by NBC's Jay Rankin.


MURRAY: Welcome to another Inside the Boiler Room, I'm Mark Murray joined by Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we actually have a question from Jody in Iowa who asks, "Do you think that Speaker Boehner will be able to corral enough of the Republican caucus to pass a bill to extend only the tax cuts for 98% of the people?" What do you think Domenico?

MONTANARO: I don't know.  I mean--if I knew that I would be getting paid a lot more than I am getting paid. I don;t know I mean I think that is the million dollar question. The trillion dollar question if you will. I don't -- I just -- it is very difficult to see how it gets done, it is also difficult to see how it doesn't get done.

MURRAY: It is interesting how it splices up in a couple different scenarios. On the one hand there is always this kind of unwritten rule that Republicans would only pass legislation that is supported by a majority of Republicans. If you are actually looking for what a majority of the caucus could support, well that becomes kind of dicey. But all of the sudden if you are talking and you only need a minority of Republicans, say getting fifty, sixty, seventy and with the Democrats signing on to the rest maybe that is kind of doable. We have already heard from a lot of lame duck members of Congress who have either lost or are retiring and people saying, 'Look, I could actually sign on.'

Domenico, I know you actually have done research on this, looking at these groups of people that aren't coming back to the next Congress and they might be able to make a deal.

MONTANARO: Yeah, I meant there is about seventy people who have either lost races in the primary, lost for the general election or have -- were in 55 or under races. Not all of those people are going to be people you can get to because some of them include people like Rep. Allen West, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Paul Ryan was at 55. So, maybe the number is closer to forty or fifty who you can really get to. But, there is at least a chunk of people who you know, Democrats and maybe Speaker Boehner would want to go to try and get things done. I do think it depends on how much John Boehner wants to remain speaker, how long he wants to continue to do that.

MURRAY: And there is one magic number -- 218. That is what would be needed to pass legislation in the House, that seems to be the most difficult hurdle.

MONTANARO: Sure is. I'm Domenico Montanaro --

MURRAY: -- and I'm Mark Murray. Thanks Jody!