Boehner, Reid Can't Find the Votes

Neither plan is doing very well at this point
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2011 7:53 AM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., whispers to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, before a meeting on the debt limit increase on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 23, 2011.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

(Newser) – John Boehner and Harry Reid are frantically scrambling to cobble together support for their dueling debt plans after Boehner was forced to delay a House floor vote on his proposal until tomorrow ... or beyond. The delay was a direct result of the CBO's report that Boehner's package falls short—it will only save $850 billion, not $1 trillion—but the speaker is also dealing with the fact that, by some estimates, 40 to 50 of his fellow GOP lawmakers are "no" votes or undecided. He has yet to solidify the 217 "yes" votes he needs, and has been calling members who oppose him into his office for one-on-ones, Politico reports. At least two prominent conservative groups are also against the plan, although the US Chamber of Commerce is for it.

Aides to leading House Republicans are trying to find ways to address the $150 billion shortfall, with the most likely option being to lower the borrowing authority Congress approves. Meanwhile, Boehner and his fellow leaders are lobbying both inside and outside the Capitol for support, reaching out to everyone from Sean Hannity to David Brooks to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. They're arguing that Reid will be forced to pass the House plan when his plan fails in the Senate, sources say, and that Obama will be forced to sign it despite his veto threat. Reid is struggling to get the votes he needs for the Democratic plan—he'll likely need Republican support, the Washington Post reports, noting that at this point both alternatives "appear doomed without significant bipartisan modifications."

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