Republican officials said they likely would back the proposal to divide the bill into two pieces, as long as there was no delay in taking up the immunity provision. "We would be OK with that as long as the immunity provision [can] become law," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).This is why this whole thing hs been a charade from the beginning. There are almost certainly a couple dozen red-state Democrats who will vote with Republicans to approve immunity, which means everybody gets to cast the votes they want and the president ends up getting exactly the bill he wants. This is nothing for us anti-immunity folks to be happy about, but the votes are what they are. If there's a majority in favor of immunity, then they should call the roll and let 'em vote.
Officials from both sides acknowledged that there are probably enough votes in the House to pass the measure protecting telephone companies. But splitting the bill would give Democrats who oppose the immunity provision political cover for voting in favor of the broader legislation.
They could have done this three weeks ago, of course, with the same result. But apparently both sides figured they'd get more mileage out of dragging things out: Republicans got to run their Traitorcrat ads while Democrats got to posture for their liberal base — all the while knowing perfectly well that this deal was almost certainly the eventual end state. Ladies and gentlemen, your Congress at work.