House Republican Leader John A. Boehner has tapped his number two, GOP Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, to negotiate the terms of an economic rescue plan.
Republicans in the House were universally upset with Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus, the ranking GOP lawmaker on the Financial Services Committee, for appearing Thursday with a bipartisan group of senators to announce the principles of a deal. To many, his appearance at a press conference after three hours of negotiating gave the impression that Republicans had signed off on the deal.
But Bachus later issued an unusual, and somewhat humiliating, press release telling reporters that he was not sanctioned to sign off on a deal - a point he made repeatedly in the three-hour negotiating session, according to people familiar with that session.
Boehner needs a trusted ally at the negotiating table if he ever hopes to get a deal that his rank and file will accept.