House Passes Boehner Debt Ceiling Bill 218-210, Senate Defeat Tonight Certain

It's another Friday of drama in the debt ceiling crisis.

The House of Representatives just passed Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling/deficit reduction bill on a strict mostly party-line vote. Now we’re on to the Senate where a vote and defeat tonight are a certainty.

The House approved legislation on Friday by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to reduce the deficit by $915 billion over 10 years and increase the federal debt ceiling by $900 billion. The bill would allow for an additional $1.5 trillion increase in the debt ceiling early next year contingent on two outcomes: Congress enacting further deficit reductions and a balanced budget amendment sent to the states.

The latter condition was added after GOP leaders failed to secure enough votes for passage on Thursday. The language was added to appease hold-out fiscal conservatives. The speaker’s proposal passed on a party line vote, 218-210.

Boehner’s bill now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has pledged its swift defeat. All Senate Democratic Caucus members are set to vote for a motion to table the Boehner bill. Reid has offered a counter proposal to reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion over 10 years and provide for just one increase in the debt ceiling through the 2012 elections, which the White House favors. Reid was expected to file cloture on his plan, with a vote expected early Sunday morning.

Here’s the roll call.

The rational thing to do at this point would be to forge a compromise between the Reid and Boehner bills, have the Senate adopt that as an amendment to the Boehner Bill, and send it back to the House where, one would think, a combination of House Democrats and Republicans should be able to find a way to get to the 216 needed to pass the bill. Of course, nothing that has happened in this entire process has been rational, so we could be in for a pointless weekend and a bad week next week.

There is some hope, it seems, in the Senate:

Senate Democratic and Republican leaders are having intense discussions to come up with a bipartisan solution for raising the debt ceiling.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that he needs ideas from Republicans sometime Friday if Congress is to meet the Aug. 2 deadline.

A Senate GOP leadership aide said the two sides have until early Sunday morning to reach an agreement.

The two sides are discussing trigger mechanisms that could be used to build bipartisan support. Such triggers would force Congress to carry out another round of deficit reduction before the 2012 election.

Well, at least they’re talking,

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    So, does anybody actually know what sort of Frankenstein’s Monster Boehner put together to get past the Teahadists? I mean, there’s the talking points Doug has, but we (and the CBO) all know that doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with what’s in the fine print, and since they’re already ignoring their own Big Rule about posting bills for public notice for a minimum time before any votes are taken, just what sort of pig-in-a-poke has the GOP signed on for?

  2. Dave says:

    Doesn’t “strict party-line vote” imply all of one party voted one way and all of the other party voted the other way? Hence, the line dividing the vote is the same line dividing the parties. 22 Republicans voted against this.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I haven’t been following the ins and outs with terribly great care, but did the House GOP just manage to pass a trillion dollars in cuts that will never happen rather than negotiate a bill for 4 trillion total (3 to 1 cuts over revenue?)

    Am I missing something or did they just blow off 4 trillion that might have actually happened in exchange for 1 trillion that will be dead within hours?

    And did they not just publicly castrate Speaker Boehner in the process?

  4. legion says:

    @michael reynolds: Yes, yes, and yes.

  5. legion says:

    And why does this thing say I posted at 1842EST, when it was actually about 1915EST? Or do I just need to start drinking now?

  6. Hey Norm says:

    No MR…you are spot on… We could of had significant…historic…bi-partisan deficit/debt reduction legislation but instead we got partisan symbolism that will accomplish almost nothing.
    I hope Obama comes out and explains this and uses it to hammer the Tea Stain…but based on history I’m sure the Republicans will instead spin it as a victory.

  7. EddieInCA says:

    How many people think Boehner, if he could, would transport himself back to last Friday night, when he walked away from the 4 trillion dollar Grand Bargain, and make a different decision?

  8. Am I missing something or did they just blow off 4 trillion that might have actually happened in exchange for 1 trillion that will be dead within hours?

    As I mentioned in a number of other threads, the Tea Party doesn’t actually care about reducing government spending. People (like me) who actually do have been tearing our hair out and beating our heads against the wall for the last month.

    The tea party only cares about posturing. They’d rather get nothing done and be able to go on posturing that actually do something about the problem.

  9. Hey Norm says:

    Boehner’s billed just died in the Senate…59 to 41. So it took 3 days to cobble together a bill that barely passed on a party line vote in the House with Dems and Republicans voting against it. And it failed on a bi-partisan basis in the Senate.
    What a waste of time and $$$.

  10. George Vreeland Hill says:

    Dear Congress:
    Last year I mismanaged my funds and this year my family and I cannot decide on a budget.
    Until we can come to a unified decision that fits all of our needs and interests, we will have to shut down our check book and will no longer be able to pay our taxes.
    I’m sure you’ll understand.
    Thank you very much for setting an example we can all follow.

    George Vreeland Hill