So what happened last night? Was this a meeting, circus, complete destruction of any kind of diplomacy and governing or just a pizza party? We apologize for sounding sarcastic, this is just starting to get a bit ridiculous. Just pray President Obama will take action in forcing a lift on the debt-ceiling so we can move on.:)
House Republican leaders Thursday night called off a planned vote on their legislation to raise the debt limit and cut spending by nearly $1 trillion, after unsuccessfully trying to round up enough support to send it to the Senate, where Democratic leaders vowed to thwart the bill.
GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy announced there would be no vote shortly before 10:30 p.m. EDT. Republicans plan to meet at 10 a.m. EDT Friday to decide how to proceed.
“The votes obviously were not there,” conceded Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., after Speaker John Boehner and the leadership had spent hours trying to corral the support of rebellious conservatives.
The decision created fresh turmoil as divided government struggled to head off an unprecedented default that would leave the Treasury without the funds needed to pay all its bills. Administration officials say Tuesday is the deadline for Congress to act.
After expressing optimism earlier in the day, Republican leaders halted debate about 5:30 p.m. EDT and the House went into recess about 6:50 p.m. EDT.
Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, said it was “a sensible assumption” that Boehner was still trying to round up the needed votes.
During the delay, Boehner, R-Ohio, was seen meeting with GOP House members, including Louie Gohmert of Texas, Joe Walsh of Illinois, and Jeff Flake and Trent Franks of Arizona, NBC News reported. Gohmert and Walsh said they remained on the ‘no’ side. The Arizona pair would not state their positions.
Gohmert earlier had said he was still a “bloodied and beaten no” after Boehner asked him for his vote.
Boehner also met with the entire South Carolina Republican delegation, which remained united in opposition to his plan, NBC News reported. The state is also represented by Sen. Jim DeMint, who has solid ties to tea party groups and is a strong critic of compromising on the debt issue.
Other lawmakers congregated in the office of the chief GOP vote counter, California Rep. McCarthy, perhaps drawn to the 19 boxes of pizza that were rolled in. Boehner joined them but did not speak to reporters.
The White House taunted Boehner and the Republicans.
“Another day wasted while the clock ticks, now is the time to compromise so we can solve this problem and reduce the deficit,” tweeted communications director Dan Pfeiffer.
If the House had approved the bill, it would bring President Barack Obama and congressional leaders a step closer to endgame efforts for a debt-limit solution before Tuesday’s deadline.
After the delay, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying, “Hopefully, now the Republicans will come back to the table to negotiate a bipartisan, balanced agreement that is overwhelmingly supported by the American people.
“Republicans have taken us to the brink of economic chaos,” Pelosi said. “The delay must end now so we can focus on the American people’s top priority: creating jobs and growing the economy.”
At an afternoon news conference, Boehner called the measure “a sincere, honest effort to end this crisis.” Rival Democratic leaders had moved ahead on the assumption that Boehner would prevail in rallying Republicans to back the legislation.
The House bill cuts spending by $917 billion over a decade, principally by holding down costs for hundreds of government programs ranging from the Park Service to the Agriculture Department and foreign aid.
It also provides an immediate debt limit increase of $900 billion, which is less than half of the total needed to meet Obama’s insistence that there be no replay of the current crisis in the heat of the 2012 election campaigns.
An additional $1.6 trillion in borrowing authority would be conditioned on passage of more cuts.
Republicans are seeking deep spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit to allow the government to keep paying its bills. The White House has threatened to veto the GOP bill if it makes it through the Democratic-controlled Senate. Still, getting the newly modified House plan passed on Thursday was seen as an important step toward finding a compromise — possibly in the Senate.
“Around here you’ve got to have deadlock before you have breakthrough,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. “We’re at that stage now.”
Read the full story here.