House GOP Lacks Votes To Pass Its Debt Ceiling Plan
Yesterday, the House GOP Leadership introduced its version of a plan to raise the debt ceiling that includes, among other things, a one year delay in the implementation of most provisions of the Affordable Care Act, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and other matters. Given that President Obama has said repeatedly that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling it’s hard to see the plan getting anywhere. This seems to be especially true given the fact that there don’t seem to be enough votes in the House to pass it:
House Republican leaders found themselves struggling to secure the votes on Thursday for a debt-ceiling measure they hoped to pass swiftly through the House as the latest salvo in a multifront fiscal fight.
In a closed-door meeting, the leaders outlined to their members a proposal that would demand a laundry list of Republican priorities in exchange for a yearlong suspension of the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. The centerpiece of the plan is a one-year delay of President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
But hours after the meeting, the party had yet to release the legislation formally, and conservatives complained that it lacked specific spending cuts and failed to tackle entitlement reform.
“We still have some challenges,” said Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), an ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and member of the GOP whip team. “We’ve got an awful lot of support, but clearly at this point we don’t have a final product that’s attracting the number that we need. Hopefully that’ll change, and I think it could.”
Cole said leaders were still tinkering with the plan, which senior Republicans earlier had said would go to the House Rules Committee on Thursday.
GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) told The Hill late Thursday that leaders are “still figuring out the timing” of a vote to increase the nation’s borrowing authority.
A meeting of the House GOP leadership late Thursday afternoon broke up without an announcement about the bill. Aides said the timing remained “in flux,” and the Rules Committee had yet to schedule a meeting.
The committee did plan to meet to approve a same-day rule allowing the debt ceiling to be brought up at any time. GOP leaders previously had argued that because many elements in the debt ceiling plan have been previously voted on by the House, a three-day layover rule could be waived.
House leaders had hoped to schedule the debt-ceiling vote as early as Friday, thinking it could help them move a separate measure to fund the government. They want to focus the fight over government spending on the debt measure, where they have long believed they have more leverage with the White House.
Meanwhile, the Senate is back in session and will vote on the Cloture Vote on the House Continuing Resolution shortly after Noon today. By all estimations, that vote will succeed in getting the 60 votes needed to pass, perhaps quite comfortably. After that vote, there will be a vote on an Amendment proposed by Harry Reid that will strip the language that would defund Obamacare from the bill. That vote only requires a simple majority vote and will likely pass. Then, there will be a vote on the final bill as amended that also only needs a simple majority vote. After that, the ball will be back in the House’s court as we head into the weekend.