As expected, the Senate today blocked a House Republican bill to require Congress to slash spending and pass a balanced-budget amendment before raising the nation's borrowing powers. The Senate defeated the Tea-Party-backed "cut, cap, and balance" measure by a vote of 51-46. The defeat comes against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations on a larger deal, even as John Boehner insists the two sides aren't close.
For his part, President Obama made clear that the biggest obstacle remains a large bloc of conservative House Republicans. Speaking at a town-hall-style meeting at the University of Maryland, Obama said he was "willing to sign a plan that would include tough choices I would not ordinarily sign," even if went further than those in his own party wanted. "Whether I like it or not, I've got to get the debt ceiling raised," Obama declared. Of crafting a deal that could win over skeptical House Republicans, Obama said, "We're going to keep working on that."