Updated 7/29/11 7:10 a.m:
At 9 a.m., House Speaker John Boehner will convene a closed meeting of all 240 House Republicans where he will explain the tweaks made to the legislation last night and make his final appeal to his Republicans to, well, get their asses in line. House Republican sources tell ABC News this morning that they believe they have the votes to pass Boehner’s debt ceiling bill. Of course, they thought that yesterday afternoon too … The plan, assuming the 9 a.m. meeting goes well, is to have a vote later this morning.
July 28, 2011 11:26 PM:
Republican plans to send a clear message about spending cuts, party unity and frame the continuing debt ceiling debate were dealt a major blow Thursday night when party leaders pulled their debt ceiling legislation from the House floor rather than see it go down to defeat.
The vote was initially expected to occur at 6 p.m. ET, but was postponed late Thursday afternoon and eventually scuttled for the day. The delay suggested Republicans did not have the votes to pass their plan and they were scrambling to pressure wavering Republicans on board.
By nearly 10 p.m. Thursday evening, a whip notice had gone out to all Republican House members.
"Thank you for your patience," the notice read. "We hope to reach a decision soon on the schedule for the rest of night. Members are advised to stay nearby as we still expect to vote later tonight. Please stay tuned to future updates for more accurate timing. I will relay any new information I have as soon as possible. Again - Thank you for your patience."
Shortly before 10:30 p.m., however, the vote was off. House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced to gathered reporters on the Hill there will be "no vote tonight."
The vote has been delayed, says a GOP aide, "so leaders can work on changes to achieve a majority of votes."
The bill would have cut $900 billion in spending and raised the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by about $1 trillion - six months. Democrats have argued that the country should not endure another potentially damaging-to-the-economy debt ceiling vote that soon.
Democrats were happy to talk about Republicans trouble passing the bill. Senate Majority Leader Reid, D-NV., took to the Senate floor this evening and noted that the House of Representatives was having “trouble” conducting their business this evening.
“I apologize to everyone for the late hour,” Reid said, “We've been waiting for the House to conduct their business….as a result of their not sending us the material we needed we are going to have to wait until tomorrow to do our work.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement late tonight after the vote was delayed, encouraging Republicans to come back to the table to negotiate another deal.
“Hopefully, now the Republicans will come back to the table to negotiate a bipartisan, balanced agreement that is overwhelmingly supported by the American people,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “Republicans have taken us to the brink of economic chaos. The delay must end now so we can focus on the American people’s top priority: creating jobs and growing the economy.”
Republicans have a strong majority in the House and could afford to lose 24 of their members and still get the 216 needed to pass the bill.
It was supposed to frame their case going into negotiations with the Democrats who control the Senate and want to see fewer spending cuts and extended the debt ceiling through 2012 and the coming general election.
House Republicans still plan to vote at some point on the Boehner bill. John “Get Your Ass In Line” Boehner may get his 216 votes to pass the bill, but he is not there yet. It will be a close vote. NOTE: The number for passage would normally be 218, but several seats are vacant and one member is recovering from surgery. Even if the gavel comes down - then what?
Assuming the Boehner bill eventually passes, the Senate will move swiftly to reject it (or, in Senate-speak to “table” it). IMPORTANT: Tabling a bill is not the same as killing it. It can be brought up again at a later time.
At that point, the Senate will take up the Reid bill (supported by the President, it raises the debt ceiling by $2.7T, until 2013). He’ll offer Republicans one last chance – a window of just a matter of hours – to negotiate slight changes.
But Republicans say the Reid bill cannot get the 60 need to pass. They are counting on it failing, forcing the Democrats – under the threat of default and facing market turmoil – to once again take up the Boehner bill and pass it as the only way to avoid economic chaos.
As Republicans see it: The Boehner bill will be the last train leaving the station. The Senate must pass it or default.
Democrats plan to put the Republicans right against the wall using the very same tactic. They will do this by holding the vote on the competing bill authored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (which would raise the debt ceiling until 2013) on Sunday or Monday – at which point it will be too late to go back to the Boehner bill or do anything else.
“At that point,” says one key Democrat, “they will be forced to make a choice: vote for the Reid bill or vote for default.”