Morning Roundup: "Postponed" Edition

Fiscal Responsibility

Today’s headlines show it was a tough morning for House Republicans as they continue to push a short-term debt limit proposal that doesn’t have support within its own party and is destined to fail in the Senate. Rather than wasting time with a bill that will never reach the President’s desk, Republicans need to work with Democrats on a long-term, balanced agreement to pay our bills and reduce the deficit.

NY Times: House Puts Off Debt Vote as Press by Boehner Fails

Short of support from their conservative members, House Republican leaders on Thursday abruptly put off a vote on their proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending, throwing last-ditch efforts to avert a government default next week into disarray.”

“Just minutes from a roll call vote on the plan pushed by Speaker John A. Boehner, Republicans stunned the House by interrupting the debate and turning to routine matters while Mr. Boehner and his lieutenants tried to pressure reluctant conservatives into backing their plan. The House then went into a recess and shortly before 11 p.m., the leadership announced that no vote would be held Thursday.”

“The surprise postponement threw the endgame of the debt-limit clash into confusion and raised concerns among some on Capitol Hill that the government was lurching toward a default. The White House and Senate Democratic leaders had been waiting for the House to act before making their next move with an eye on the Tuesday deadline set by the Treasury Department for raising the debt ceiling or facing the possibility that the government would not be able to meet all its financial obligations.”

“Republicans had expressed confidence throughout the day that they would round up enough recalcitrant conservatives to pass their plan, but they obviously miscalculated.”

“At 6:50 p.m., the leaders stopped all business on the floor, where the House had worked through a list of post offices to be renamed, and called a recess. As the House remained dark, Republican leaders scurried from office to office, meeting with rebellious members and trying to find a way to press forward with the vote. They eventually surrendered and put off the vote for the night.”

With House Democrats offering no votes, even from the party’s fiscal conservatives, Republicans evidently remained shy of the total needed for passage, and Mr. Boehner engaged in some very public arm-twisting as he pulled members off the floor into a nearby office.”

“‘Hopefully, now the Republicans will come back to the table to negotiate a bipartisan, balanced agreement that is overwhelmingly supported by the American people,’ said Ms. Pelosi, who added that ‘Republicans have taken us to the brink of economic chaos.’”

Washington Post: Debt-limit vote is canceled in House as Boehner, GOP leaders struggle to gain votes

“House Speaker John A. Boehner abruptly canceled a vote on his plan to lift the federal debt limit late Thursday after failing to persuade recalcitrant conservatives to back the measure and help him avert an economy-rattling default.”

After a night of legislative chaos, with control of his caucus slipping in dramatic fashion from his grasp, Boehner (R-Ohio) yanked the bill from the House floor and prepared to make changes aimed at appealing to his tea-party-influenced right flank. Republican aides said they hoped for a Friday vote.”

“The late-night drama developed after debate on Boehner’s debt-limit bill had concluded and lawmakers were minutes away from what was expected to be a cliffhanger vote. Suddenly, action on the House floor shifted to a series of non-controversial measures, leaving befuddled lawmakers debating whether to rename a post office in Hawaii.”

“Outside the House chamber, Boehner summoned members of the holdout GOP South Carolina delegation to his second-floor office just off the Capitol Rotunda. But he appeared to make little headway and, within minutes, freshman Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Jeff Duncan left the meeting, saying they were heading to a nearby chapel to pray for their leaders.”

“Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) later joined them, and the trio, stalwart conservatives who have steadfastly opposed efforts to grant the Treasury additional borrowing authority, told reporters that Boehner’s pitch had not been persuasive.”

“A short while later, the South Carolinians gathered with other undecided Republicans in the first-floor offices of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a usual hangout for many of the 87 freshmen. There, Boehner, McCarthy and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pleaded with their fellow Republicans for support.”

“Aides said that some holdouts objected to an item in the bill related to the Pell grant college loan program, complaining that it amounted to a $17 billion spending increase. Some members also wanted to see stronger language calling for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget, aides said.”

The chaos in the House left Washington no closer to a resolution over the debt limit just days before the Aug. 2 deadline.”

“The partisan impasse is shaking Wall Street and the confidence of top business leaders. Early Thursday, chief executives of some of the largest U.S. financial companies — including Brian Moynihan from Bank of America, Jamie Dimon from J.P. Morgan Chase and John R. Strangfeld of Prudential — wrote a letter to President Obama and members of Congress urging them to strike a deal this week.”

WSJ: House Postpones Vote on Boehner Debt Plan

The House postponed a Thursday night vote on Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the federal borrowing limit after he failed to stem a revolt by conservative GOP members. The delay leaves the credit status of the U.S. government in jeopardy with five days remaining before it begins running out of money to pay all its bills.”

“Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) said the delay was unfortunate but a deal could still be struck. ‘We're running out of time and options, but if there's an agreement, a real agreement, things can move quickly in the Senate and the House,’ Mr. Durbin said.”

“The vote, scheduled for 6 p.m., was delayed when it appeared Mr. Boehner didn't have the votes. A series of lawmakers who had said they would oppose the Boehner plan were summoned to the speaker's office as he attempted to persuade them to change their minds, creating an unusually stark scene of power politics.”

The House conservatives' opposition to Mr. Boehner's bill suggests any final compromise deal will need Democratic votes to pass the chamber.”

LA Times: Boehner, hitting another wall on debt limit plan, calls off vote

A revolt by conservative House Republicans stalemated efforts by the party's leadership to pass a bill raising the nation's debt ceiling Thursday night, with Speaker John A. Boehner and his aides calling off a scheduled vote after determining they were on the verge of a humiliating defeat.”

“With just days remaining before the federal government runs out of money to pay its bills, the setback weakened Boehner (R-Ohio) and strengthened the hand of Democratic congressional leaders in final efforts to forge a compromise to avert economic turmoil.”

“The setback in the House marked the second time this week that conservative opposition had forced Boehner to postpone a vote on his debt plan, and it dramatically illustrated the power of ‘tea party’ conservatives to upend the GOP establishment.”

“The late-night decision to call off the vote came after hours of frantic, unsuccessful arm twisting, with House leaders ushering wavering members into leadership offices to meet with the speaker, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).”

With no Democrats pledging to support Boehner's bill, he could afford to lose only about two dozen of his members. As the evening wore on, it became clear that he was falling short of his goal.”

Roll Call: Boehner Delays Vote, Considers Changes to Debt Bill

House conservatives stymied Speaker John Boehner’s debt limit bill Thursday night, forcing leadership to pull it from the floor rather than risk losing a vote on passage.”

“It’s uncertain when the measure might return to the floor. The Ohioan and other GOP leaders had been leaning on aggressive lobbying to wrangle the 216 votes needed, but by late Thursday it was clear that enough conservatives were unwilling to budge from their opposition that the bill would go down.”

“The leadership is now scrambling to also come up with changes to make the bill more palatable. The Rules Committee approved a rule late Thursday that would allow Boehner to make changes to his bill and immediately bring it to the floor anytime from Friday through Tuesday, the day the Treasury Department predicts the United States will begin defaulting on its obligations if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.”

“The setback creates a key challenge for Boehner’s speakership and pits a results-oriented leadership team against an ideologically rigid minority that holds sway over a significant portion of GOP lawmakers.”