UPDATE: Debt Ceiling Talks Get Fired Up
Members of Congress went to great lengths on Tuesday and Wednesday in their struggle to raise the debt ceiling--even playing movie clips to sway
According to the LA Times:
A go-it-alone House Republican plan to raise the nation's debt ceiling teetered on the edge of failure late Tuesday as leaders struggled to rally reluctant lawmakers and to make last-minute changes to curry conservative support.
Boehner needs 217 votes to pass the plan in the House. There are 240 Republicans currently in the house, so even without democratic support, Boehner can afford to lose 23 votes. However, the task has proven difficult given the opposition of many conservatives to any increase in the nation's debt limit under any circumstances.
The pressure to get the plan passed forced GOP leaders into overdrive. They used arguments, empathy, sweeteners and even a tough-guy movie clip to rally support for the measure.
The L.A. Times article went on to say:
One by one Tuesday, reluctant rank-and-file House Republicans wrestled with their decisions and the divide in the party at large. Influential business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged lawmakers to vote for the plan, while pivotal conservative groups warned against it.
"When there is this type of pressure, I do what I was taught to do: I get on my knees and I ask for some understanding and some leadership," said Rep. Jeffrey Landry, a freshman Republican from Louisiana who came to Washington without experience in elective office. He was undecided, but very skeptical.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, there is another measure on hold as members wait for the House outcome. Senator Harry Reid's alternative would allow the debt ceiling to be raised through the end of 2012 with $2.7 trillion in deficit reductions. Boehner's plan, on the other hand, would require that the president go to Congress twice over the next year for authority to raise the debt limit.
Reid would need seven Republican senators to adopt his plan in order to pass the measure. As of right now, few senators are willing to show full support before the House results are known.
Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor on Wednesday morning with a few harsh words for the undecided Republicans in the House.
According to the NY Times:
Demanding “straight talk,” Mr. McCain accused conservatives of abandoning reason by opposing the House Republican leader’s plan to resolve the debt crisis.
Mr. McCain mocked Tea Party-allied Republicans in the House for believing — wrongly, he said — that President Obama and Democrats will get the blame for a default if Republicans refuse to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.
We'll see if the the last two days tactics will prove beneficial for the passage of either plan. It's crunch time for Congress.
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