House Bids to Salvage Boehner Bill as Aug. 2 Deadline Nears

July 29, 2011

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and James Rowley -Bloomberg News

House Republican leaders, four days before a threatened U.S. default and facing stiff resistance within their ranks to raising the U.S. debt ceiling, plan to make a second try at passing legislation that is headed for a Senate roadblock.

Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner were forced to scrap action on the measure late last night. They are considering a rewrite for a second time this week after face-to- face meetings with recalcitrant lawmakers failed to yield the votes to push it through the House.

Skeptics concerned that the plan wouldn’t do enough to rein in the debt were insisting on conditioning part of the borrowing boost on congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

The measure should be amended to “something transformative that transcends election cycles and has some degree of permanency to it,” said Republican Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a freshman opponent of the measure who met with House leaders for three hours last night as they struggled unsuccessfully to build support for the bill.

The delay was a setback for Boehner and his leadership team, forcing them to delay a vote until today. They implored Republicans to back a measure that President Barack Obama’s advisers have said he would veto and Senate leaders promised to quickly defeat.

Little Time Left

The Treasury Department has set an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit to avert a default. Senate Democrats, working to break the impasse, were trying to devise a strict enforcement mechanism to guarantee future deficit savings, according to Democratic officials.

There was little time to strike a deal, though Democrats said the demise of the House bill may force a compromise.

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