After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor refused to discuss possible tax increases as part of the agreement and halted the bi-partisan negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden, the pressure to get a deal falls on John Boehner.
Boehner confidants are in damage control mode after Cantor's surprise high-profile exit from the talks, telling POLITICO that he knew all along that Cantor would step away from the negotiating table before reaching an agreement.
But behind the scenes, Republican leaders are frightened they won't votes to pass any deal to avoid default.
In a press conference yesterday, Boehner said "tax hikes are off the table," saying nothing about his stance on eliminating so-called tax expenditures — loopholes and subsidies — that the Obama administration is hoping will serve as a compromise solution.
The Speaker is struggling to maintain control of a restive GOP caucus, with House freshman in particular unwilling to make any deal that could be construed as raising taxes. Obama, on the other hand, is demanding a "balanced" agreement that includes revenue increases.
If Boehner wants to make a deal, he'll have to sacrifice some political capital to get it passed. If he doesn't, it's going to be a very stressful August 1.
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