Debt-Limit Deadlock After Senate Kills Boehner Bill

Lawmakers who said they were determined to avoid an unprecedented government default remained at an impasse over the raising the nation's debt limit Saturday as prospects of economic chaos loomed.

Senators were expected to continue talking even though their efforts publicly came to an abrupt halt Friday evening after the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 59-41 to table Republican House Speaker John Boehner's bill, effectively killing it less than two hours after the House passed it.

Democrats opposed the measure because it would require another debt-limit debate early next year.

After the tabling vote, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky could not agree on how to proceed on a bill by Reid. McConnell wanted a filibuster, requiring a 60-vote supermajority to move Reid's bill forward, and Reid wanted a procedure allowing his bill to move with a simple majority. Reid said McConnell refused negotiate with him.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told MSNBC's "The Last Word" that McConnell had said he will not negotiate with Reid, just with President Barack Obama.

The Senate adjourned until 1 p.m. EDT Saturday was scheduled to take up a vote on Reid's bill at 1 a.m. Sunday. The Republican-controlled House planned a 1 p.m. Saturday vote on Reid's proposal, McConnell said, noting the House vote on Reid's bill would precede the Senate's.

Boehner's plan, which passed the House 218-210 with no Democratic support, would have raised the debt ceiling $900 billion, cut spending $917 billion over a decade and call for a balanced-budget amendment before the limit could be raised again, presumably next year.

Senate Democrats had vowed to block it in favor of Reid's longer-term $2.4 trillion debt limit increase with about $2.2 trillion in spending cuts. Reid revised the bill Friday to essentially allow the president to raise the debt ceiling in steps, as McConnell had previously suggested. Through a complex legislative process, Congress could disapprove later debt-ceiling hikes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber, Reid said.

After the Senate vote, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, "For the second time, the House has passed a reasonable, common-sense plan to raise the debt limit and cut spending and, for the second time, Sen. Reid has tabled it. The responsibility to end this crisis is now entirely in the hands of Sen. Reid and President Obama."

Boehner said his bill was necessary "after I stuck my neck out a mile trying to get an agreement with the president of the United States. I stuck my neck out a mile. And I put revenues on the table in order to try to come to an agreement to avert us being where we are."

"But a lot of people in this town can never say yes. This house has acted and it is time for this administration to put something on the table, tell us where you are."

Boehner said his bill would cut spending by more than the increase in the debt limit, impose spending caps to restrain future spending, and require Congress to send states a balanced budget amendment before the ceiling could be raised again.

Boehner on Thursday failed to round up enough support for his plan, exposing a rift in the Republican Party. But he tweaked the bill and told the House Friday evening that it was necessary to pass his plan "for the sake of our economy" and to "end this crisis now."

Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-NY, told the House before the vote, "Never, never has there been an intentional disaster perpetrated by the very people who were sent here to be the caretakers of this country. ... Am I really supposed to tell the greatest generation that when they passed us the torch, we dropped it because we couldn’t compromise?"

After the vote, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., was one of many House members react on the floor.

"This House, led by the Republicans, has put every state, city, every university that writes bonds at risk… because of this foolishness," McDermott said. "We need a clean lifting of the debt limit."

The White House called again for compromise.

"The bill passed today in the House with exclusively Republican votes would have us face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months by demanding the Constitution be amended or America defaults," said a statement from the White House. "This bill has been declared dead on arrival in the Senate."

"Now that yet another political exercise is behind us, with time dwindling, leaders need to start working together immediately to reach a compromise that avoids default and lays the basis for balanced deficit reduction," the White House said, backing Reid's plan and echoing comments President Barack Obama made earlier in the day.

"Any solution must be bipartisan," said Obama from the Diplomatic Room at the White House. "We're in rough agreement," said the president. "There are plenty of ways out of this mess."

"The time for putting party first is over," he added. "It’s time to step up and show the leadership the American people expect."

He later reiterated his call to action on Twitter: "The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email.Tweet. --BO"

Shortly after the president's speech, GOP lawmakers announced plans to tweak the House bill with hopes of gaining the votes needed for passage.

The balanced budget amendment was a key demand of rebellious conservatives who withheld their votes from the legislation on Thursday night.

Earlier, an aide who attended Boehner's meeting with the GOP conference told NBC News, "If we pass this today, we will have sent not one, but two bills to the Senate that would end this crisis. All that will stand between the American people and a resolution to this crisis will be the Senate, which has passed nothing."

Reid, from Nevada, said he had invited McConnell to join him in negotiations. "I know the Senate compromise bill Democrats have offered is not perfect in Republican eyes. Nor is it perfect for Democrats," Reid said. "But together, we must make it work for all of us. It is the only option."

But McConnell dismissed the Democratic effort, arguing that it stands no chance in the Republican-controlled House, and he accused Obama of pushing the nation to the brink of an economic abyss.

Concerns about a U.S. default on Aug. 2 continued to reverberate around markets Friday, with stocks down again. While investors have been jittery for weeks, the inability this week of Republicans to even manage to get their own party to agree on a plan has reinforced those fears with just days to go.

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  • by Momof4 on Aug 1, 2011 at 01:15 PM
    MR. Obama is taking from our Grandparents again.Our seniors built this country and paid in. they have not gotton a cost of living increase in three years .Why does Mr. Obama keep giving our money to the rich and foreign corrupt countries? MR Obama gave away so much money the first 2 months in office. Does anyone remember the mess (HOPE CHANGE ,but for WHO)and even won a noble peace price that was voted on before he was president .I belive Bev. Perdue would be a better President and should run in 2012 , A real person that works for the people and voted in by the people .I would not want to lose her as Governor. of N.C. but can we really take another 4 years of Obamanomics take from the retired and poor to give to the rich and foreign lands. we see it for the last three years .I dont even know if Perdue would run for the white house but she should . We are American held Hostage and need People as politician not politician that dont put America first like putting a Heavy IMPORT TAX. Why not it will stop companys from going overseas and saving Jobs,and maybe really creating some new ones .If you read Obama's book you would see his idea of change its not what us American want . know our seniors ,and our children will suffer because of one man,and his idea of change can we afford 4 more years of this? just think all the money that come's out of your pay check and you will get what back in return .A roth or Ira will yield more than what you would need to retire with the funds going there instead.
    • reply
      by to Mom???? on Aug 2, 2011 at 05:57 PM in reply to Momof4
      Seriously??? Everything you are blaming Obama for is Republican policy, not his. This isn't a dictatorship. The House Republicans have tied Obama's hands in more ways than I can count. As for the stimulus package, it may not have done everything he hoped for, but it averted an almost definite Depression. Had the auto dealers and banks all failed, with no help from the government, how do you think the unemployment rates would've looked then? Pretty bleak. More lost jobs, more lost taxes, and a total economic collapse, that's how things would've looked. As for taxing the rich, he WANTS to. It's the Republicans that would throw the country under a bus to avert taxing the rich. Wake up and stop watching Fox News.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 31, 2011 at 04:43 PM
    ECU Student...You are the Bamma of the week.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 31, 2011 at 09:16 AM
    Who is Grover Norguist ? I have been seeing this man's name come up on this site? I saw him on a program this morning but he didn't have much to say. Would someone please post why this man is suppose to be so important and no one I know knows anything about him ? Tea Party here ! !
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 31, 2011 at 04:38 PM in reply to
      He is the Puppet Master, the one pulling Boehners stings.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Aug 1, 2011 at 07:03 AM in reply to
        Well, Obama has Soros so whats the big deal?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Aug 1, 2011 at 02:37 PM in reply to
          Soros is not all over the news daily, and not holding politicians over a barrel for not doing what he and this pledge wants. His pledge overrides the United States oath these guys took. We will remember in 2012.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Aug 1, 2011 at 03:50 PM in reply to
          Anonymous on Aug 1, 2011 at 05:37 PM in reply to Obviously, you are not paying attention to what Soros does. He owns Obama and a lot of the Shadow party members. Soros is active but stays under the protected media that he gives so much money to. He is still wanting to socialist American into the NWO at all costs. He is making billions on what Obama has done for him as payback. He is not one of the honest billionaires either. All his money goes to foundations that help support Obama to get him elected.
  • by srcaufalot Location: Farmville on Jul 31, 2011 at 08:57 AM
    So if the Govt' cuts medicare and Social security that mean as Tax Payers we want have to pay Medicare or Social Security Taxes any more right,if there 's no Benefits there's No Taxes.
  • by Jackson Location: Greenville on Jul 31, 2011 at 12:07 AM
    I just sent this email to my congressman, Senators Burr and Hagan, and Speaker Boehner. I urge you to contact your representative and senators and the Speaker now!! Please help get this debt ceiling foolishness settled on Monday. This partisan bickering is ridiculous and has to stop. It is time for members of Congress to do what is right for the country, not what they want to do for their own agenda. I beg you to tell the other members of Congress that their constituents are going to turn against them, whatever party they are members of if they don't get this country going again.
  • by Hey,hey Location: Good Bye!!! on Jul 30, 2011 at 10:15 PM
    Good Bye Dumbacrats!!! Thank you for ruining this Great Country and on Obama's Watch.
    • reply
      by Momof4 on Aug 1, 2011 at 01:22 PM in reply to Hey,hey
      well what about the flip flop's there are no real partys anymore they just switch and take there crappy ideas with them . People need to think and vote for the person not there partys or there race or gender . hey hey we need leaders not followers .Bev Perdue is a leader i will vote for her not her Party there a big Diffrence she has kept this State out of crisis
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil co on Aug 1, 2011 at 03:53 PM in reply to Momof4
        Please watch the news once and god woman, this is going to be the world you kids have to grow up in.....she is a bismal failure party gal with no compromise...thats OK if thats how you define leadership...geez!
  • by Bubba Location: Dixie County , F.L. on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:55 PM
    In a story hidden by the Dem Lib mainstream media, the NAACP has itself proven why Voter ID laws are necessary. Voter ID laws the NAACP has vociferously opposed. Voter fraud has long been a hallmark of the Democrat party. Democrats vote to fund corrupt groups eyeball-deep in voter fraud like ACORN and its offshoots. Black Panthers with baseball bats at white voting polls as seen on TV. Not surprisingly, Hussein Hopenchange was an attorney for ACORN in his community organizer days in Chicago. Obama has not been able to substantiate the rumor that Osama bin Laden has now registered to vote as a Democrat in Chicago. 14 times. NAACP CEO (Chief Extortion Officer) Benjamin Jealous has vigorously criticized states who have enacted Voter ID laws. These states have discovered massive corruption in voting and their citizens have demanded a solution. Voter ID laws are logical, reasonable and just common sense. Fair and honest voting is one of the most important processes that takes place in America. One must show ID to rent a video in America but not to Vote! This just doesn’t make any sense. Yet the NAACP, not surprisingly, opposes all efforts to ensure accurate and fair voting. According to Reuters.
  • by Anonymous Location: ENC on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:39 PM
    I hate to tell y'all, but the Tea Party hasn't "given up"; they have only taken a break to load up all the guns. The next big uprise will take place by FORCE OF the CITIZENS and BY the citizens. We are tired of the lying, cheating, and stealing. "the south will rise again" is not just a wishful banter; it's a promise. Don't forget that the CITIZENS still run and OWN this nation. Just like it was always intended. The second amendment was created to protect the others... get ready...
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM
    Not one person in America can live the way our government lives borrowing and printing money! Piling on another $2 trillion to our $14.3 trillion debt makes NO sense. But what did Washington ever have to do with making sense? Many people support the Boehner plan because it is the best deal we can get with Harry Reid controlling the Senate and Hope N Change in the White House. I understand that premise but don’t support it. I believe a line in the sand must be drawn that says Washington must live within its means no more additional spending , but if Obama refuses to pay Social Security , Welfare , Military, you get my point all those who voted fro him. His fate would be sealed in 2012. Voted out of DC in a land slide victory for whom ever runs against him. Some how Obama will dig up the money to pay these people who voted for him he has too , or he is done.
    • reply
      by Luke on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:25 PM in reply to Wolfgang
      Wolfgang - I still never got a check from those bad rich people. Obama promised we the people if we vote for him I did. Heck I got '2' Free Money $$$$$ checks from G W Bush. We all got none from Obama yet , looks like all got hood winked and we never will. We the people are not stupid any more , we got handed and sold on lies. Go Tea Party!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 30, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    Barlow,welcome to the USSA.The united socialist states of america.
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