NPR logo Boehner Debt Plan Besieged By Fellow Republicans, Democrats

Boehner Debt Plan Besieged By Fellow Republicans, Democrats

Speaker John Boehner, Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

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Carolyn Kaster/AP

Speaker John Boehner, Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

The prospects for Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the debt ceiling don't look promising, to say the least.

The threats to Boehner's legislation, which would raise the debt ceiling in two steps (the Boehner Two-Step, anyone?) are coming from within his GOP conference as well as Democrats.

Rep. Jim Jordan, like Boehner a Ohio Republican, heads the Republican Study Committee which generates GOP policies. He has a following among freshmen Republicans. On Tuesday, Jordan said he views Boehner's bill as too flawed and that he would be voting against it.

Furthermore, he was pretty sure Boehner can't get the 218 votes needed for House passage.


"I am confident, as of this morning, that there were not 218 Republicans in support" of Boehner's proposal, he told reporters.

Jordan, who is rallying opposition against the bill, said that while he appreciates Boehner's efforts on the debt limit, "we just think there's a better way."

If Boehner hopes to make up the lost Republican votes with Democratic votes, Rep. Steny Hoyer had a message for him. Don't count on it.

From The Hill:

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) on Tuesday predicted Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) debt-ceiling proposal would win scant support from Democrats.

Hoyer declined to say whether Boehner's bill could clear the House, but stated that "very few" Democrats would support the measure.

Democrats' chief problem with Boehner's proposal is that it would require two votes to raise the debt ceiling, one in time to avoid the Aug. 2 default date, the second six months from now.

President Obama and other Democrats say that another debt-ceiling fight next year in the middle of the general-election campaign would guarantee an even more superheated political fight. And it would subject the economy and the financial markets to another significant jolt.

Boehner's plan would also cut federal spending $1.2 trillion over ten years. His plan would also form a joint congressional committee that would come up with nearly $2 trillion more in spending cuts over ten years.

To get the second installment of debt ceiling authority, Congress would have to approve the additional cuts.

So it's looking like Boehner's plan might not even have a chance to get shot down by the Senate, let alone the president. Just to make sure there's no confusion, White House officials issued a veto threat Tuesday against the Boehner legislation.

That would leave Sen. Harry Reid's legislation. His plan would push the next debt-ceiling fight beyond the 2012 elections. Like Boehner's plan, it's all spending cuts with no tax increases.

But conservatives have panned it, in part, because it assumes $1 trillion in savings from winding down the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, savings which many Republicans see as ethereal.

All is not lost, however. National Journal reports that Reid and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate minority leader, are working on a compromise plan that they hope could win enough Democratic and Republican votes in the House to avoid default. An excerpt:

Reid is eyeing a procedural move to force a Thursday vote on his plan. Both sides expect that Reid's plan, due to GOP opposition, would not win 60 votes without modification. It serves now as a placeholder that leadership staffers on both sides said Reid will attempt to replace with a compromise bill negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell ripped the Reid plan on Tuesday but has signaled openness to a compromise along a framework similar to Boehner's.