POLITICS -- July 29, 2011 at 12:32 AM ET
Vote Delay on Boehner Plan Adds Uncertainty to Debt Ceiling Endgame
House Republicans failed to secure the support necessary to pass Speaker John Boehner's debt-limit increase plan Thursday night, forcing the GOP leadership to delay a vote on the measure as the United States inches toward its borrowing limit Aug. 2
In a chaotic night in the U.S. Capitol, GOP leaders huddled behind closed doors for hours in an attempt to rally the votes needed for Boehner's plan. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday that there would be no vote on the measure that night. Republicans originally scheduled the vote for the 6 p.m. ET hour.
Republicans may now try to tweak the bill in order to attract more support, and they planned to meet again at 10 a.m. ET Friday morning.
Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., said it was clear that "moving ahead with the package that we have is challenging."
"As of right now it's apparent that we don't have the votes for a number of reasons," Dreier said. "There are different reasons for different people."
The fate of the House version of the Boehner debt-limit increase is critical for determining the shape of any long-term compromise. A failed vote on the Boehner plan could give Republicans a weaker hand in final negotiations as Senate Democrats prepare their own debt proposal.
NewsHour Political Editor David Chalian explained the stakes for Boehner on Thursday's NewsHour:
"This is his single biggest test since becoming speaker of the House.
"We have talked all year long ... about his challenge in terms of being able to work with the president, a Democratic president, and the Democratic majority in the Senate, but having these 87 freshmen who came to Washington on the wave of Tea Party support who do not want to be dealing in any way with the opposition.
"And so that creates a real problem for Speaker Boehner. We're seeing that problem in stark relief tonight."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said as she was leaving the Capitol Thursday that she hopes Republicans will come back to the table to negotiate a new agreement with Democrats.
"They've taken us really to the brink of economic chaos," Pelosi said.
She outlined how the vote delay might effect a resolution to the debt ceiling crisis.
"This is a setback ... if it won or if it lost it would have to go to the negotiating table because there's no way the Senate would pass this bill or the president would sign it. So in order to move things along it would've been necessary for it to pass or fail," Pelosi said.
Pelosi also reminded reporters of the 2008 vote on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, when a failed vote set the stock markets tumbling. The vote failed in part because Republicans were unwilling to support the measure, which was supported by the Bush administration. Later, Republicans and Democrats joined to pass the measure.
"I hope they're not waiting to see the market go down 700 points as they did before," Pelosi said, adding a caveat that she is not sure how seriously the markets take what is happening in Congress.
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said late Thursday that changes to the current plan will be a "subject of discussion" and that he wasn't sure if any changes would be made. He is in support of the current Boehner plan.
"I think conservatives are divided on this issue in the Congress and across the country. This is not a perfect bill. For my part I had hoped we had gone farther," Pence said.
"What's going on now is a process of dialogue among the legislators who are listening to one another other and seeing how its going to be possible to move forward within the Democratic process," he added.
We'll have analysis on what comes next in Friday's Morning Line.