As a sign of just how reluctant conservatives are to throw in their lot with House GOP leadership and pass their plan to avoid default, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) suggested to reporters Tuesday that the votes aren’t there yet.
“We’re going to have some work to do to get it passed,” Boehner said at a brief press conference in the lobby of RNC Headquarters. “But I think we can.”
Democrats are whipping against the bill, to prevent Republicans from claiming bipartisan support for their plan. And if all Dems vote no, Boehner has a slim margin for error if he’s going to squeeze his plan through the House. More than three dozen Republicans have pledged in the past not to support an increase in the debt limit unless and until Congress passes a Constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets, slashing spending to historic lows, and functionally prohibiting tax cuts. If they all adhere to that pledge, Boehner’s bill can’t pass.Boehner’s debt limit plan shares some key similarities with the Democratic alternative, authored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) — a fact that’s driving influential conservative advocates to oppose it publicly. However, the two differ in key respects. Boehner’s plan would only initially raise the debt limit for a few months. It would thus risk another debt limit stand-off early next year, when Democrats would be yet again pressed to accept deep entitlement cuts (and likely little or no revenue) on the threat of default.
More on what happens if Boehner’s plan passes the House — or if it fails — here.