"So for Speaker Boehner to say as was mentioned before that he doesn't have the votes for [new revenues] -- well, he doesn't have the votes if he doesn't have revenues. Because he's not going to get Democratic votes without revenues, and he doesn't have enough Republican votes on his own to cast it," Schumer said.
It's possible Boehner could pass a debt limit hike without Democratic support, if he attached key conservative wish-list items to it. But that would be a dead-on-arrival package in the Senate, and that would be a recipe for a default. Inevitably, it seems he'll need to turn to Democrats for votes.
"That, my friends, is a major difference between this and the [six-month spending bill]. The House can't just lob things over to us if they don't have the ability to do so in their caucus," Schumer said.
Nevertheless, GOP leaders are digging in their heels. "The President is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the House," said House Speaker John Boehner in response to President Obama's call for new revenues Wednesday. "The votes simply aren't there - and they aren't going to be there."
Congress is running out of time to lift the debt ceiling -- and Schumer says they may have less time than they think.
"Wall Street tells me, first that August 2 is the deadline, and second even coming the day before it or two days before it -- it's not like the [six-month spending bill]," Schumer said. "It risks real problems, because this is not totally contained within the government. If the government shuts down, that's the government. This involves an outside player -- a very mystical, magical player called the credit markets. And if the credit markets get spooked, whether it's August 2 or July 29, there is no recuperation."
Many rank and file Republicans say they'd like to see the debt limit attached to a Balanced Budget Amendment. But amending the Constitution first requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers. So while Republicans in both chambers line up in lock-step behind the BBA, they'll likely have to satisfy themselves with a test vote on the issue.