Business, Economics and Jobs

House Republicans move closer to vote on debt ceiling plan


Flanked by U.S. Capitol Police officers, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) arrives at the U.S. Capitol July 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. After much arm-twisting, Boehner failed to bring his debt limit legislation to the floor of the House Yesterday night after he was unable to muster enough Republican votes.


Chip Somodevilla

Update: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the debt limit package in a vote of 218-210.

House Republican leaders are continuing to push for support of their debt ceiling plan that stalled Thursday night, and say they are now looking to Friday afternoon for a House vote on the bill.

Republican leaders said Friday they will link a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution with their bill in a move aimed at getting the necessary votes to pass the debt limit package put forward by House Speaker John Boehner, Politico reports.

More from GlobalPost: America’s Debt Crisis in Photos

This budget amendment provision was reportedly the main sticking point in Thursday night’s fierce haggling with rank-and-file Republican lawmakers.

The vote, originally scheduled for 6 p.m. local time Thursday, was delayed to Friday when Republican leaders failed to win sufficient support from more conservative members of the party.

The package proposed by Boehner would see the country’s borrowing limit raised by up to $900 billion along with $917 billion trimmed from the U.S. budget deficit over 10 years.

The plan faced fierce resistance from Tea Party supporters, who oppose any raising of the debt ceiling, and Thursday's delay followed heated floor debate and arm twisting late into the night as Boehner met individually with Republican members. But it wasn’t enough.

"I'm still where I was before. I'm still a bloodied-and-beaten 'no'," Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas told Agence France-Presse as he emerged from a meeting with Boehner.

Almost all of the Democratsin the House are opposed to the deep cuts to public spending.

Boehner on Thursday said the bill presented by his party was as “large a step” as Republicans could take that "is doable and signable into becoming law,” AFP reports.

(Analysis from GlobalPost: Blaming Obama for the debt crisis does the Republican machine have its facts wrong?)

Even if the House passes the bill, the Democratic-controlled Senate won’t follow suit. Majority Leader Harry Reid is already planning to introduce his own debt ceiling package.

But time is running out: the U.S. Treasury has warned the government that it will default on its debt unless a $14.3 trillion borrowing limit is increased by August 2.

U.S. President Barack Obama said earlier Friday that Democrats and Republicans must compromise to cut the budget deficit and raise the U.S. debt limit.

(More from GlobalPost: Obama's warning: "We're almost out of time" on debt plan)