House Postpones Vote on
Republican Plan To Raise Debt Ceiling
U.S. House of Representatives has delayed a vote on a Republican plan to
cut government spending and raise the federal borrowing limit in two
stages. With only five days until a potential default on the national
debt, drama reached a peak in the House late Thursday, as the Republican
Speaker of the House, John Boehner, postponed the vote amid reports he
did not have enough support among his own Republican caucus to pass it.
Speaker John Boehner
The vote on the bill proposed by House Speaker John Boehner was
scheduled for early evening, Washington, D.C. time. But after two hours
of debate on the “Budget Control” bill, instead of voting on it, the
Republican-controlled House suddenly turned its attention to bills on
re-naming post offices. The House then recessed for several hours, amid
reports that Speaker Boehner did not have the 217 votes he needed to
pass the measure among his 240 Republican caucus members.
Individual Republican lawmakers were seen entering and leaving the
Speaker's office, amid speculation Boehner was holding
one-on-one-consultations with anti-government Tea Party supporters, who
have opposed the bill because they feel it does not cut spending enough.
Emerging from the Speaker's office, Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert
of Texas told reporters he was still a “bloodied, but beaten NO” vote.
Earlier Thursday, Speaker Boehner appeared confident at a news
“Today the House will take action, again, on a solution to end the debt
limit crisis. We will take action again, just like we did on our budget,
on solutions to the problems that are facing our nation,” he said.
A number of Republican lawmakers took the floor to call for passage of
the Boehner "Budget Control" bill, which would cut government spending
by a larger amount than it would increase the debt limit. Republican
Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt is
not only endangering the future for America's children, but that all of
that borrowed money and the interest paid on it are hurting the U.S.
economy right now.
"Half of that money is coming from other other countries like China. Why
on earth do we want to give the president a blank check, to keep doing
that, giving our sovereignty and our self-determination to other
countries to loan us money to fund our government. Those days have got
to end," Ryan said.
Several Republican lawmakers said the bill was not perfect, but that it
was a compromise and the best chance to avoid default. House Minority
Whip Steny Hoyer and other Democrats strongly disagreed, saying the bill
was not bipartisan and not a compromise.
"There is no common ground here, nor was it sought. We find ourselves at
an unprecedented place today. Americans stand on the brink of default.
It stands there my friends, because the leadership of the House has
failed to act in a timely and responsible way," he said.
Congressman James Clyburn summed up the view of most Democratic
"While the clock is ticking, the Republican majority is dickering and
the American people are hurting. Our financial markets are on pace for
their worst week in nearly a year. State governments are bracing for
downgrades in their borrowing capacities," he said.
see the postponement of the House vote as a political embarrassment for
Boehner, and an indication that the Tea Party members of his caucus may
oppose any raising of the debt ceiling.
On the Senate side, 53 Senate Democrats have signed a letter saying they
will not vote for the Boehner plan, so analysts says the House measure
has virtually no chance of passing the Senate, even if the Speaker
manages to get it passed in the House on Friday. Senate Majority leader
Harry Reid has put forward his own plan to raise the debt limit and cut
spending, and it has been endorsed by President Barack Obama.
Without a deal on some kind of plan to raise the $14.3 trillion legal
limit on borrowing by the deadline, the Treasury Department says it will
not have enough money to pay all of its bills starting August 2. That
could bring a default that would likely prompt rating agencies to cut
the U.S. credit rating, bringing higher interest rates and hurting