Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Friday, July 29, 2011

Senate Democrats block Boehner debt ceiling plan after House approval -- "We're headed for disaster"

House Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the nation's debt ceiling and slash government spending narrowly passed his chamber on Friday and then was blocked by Senate Democrats, setting up a weekend of negotiations to seek a deal that would avoid a potential federal default next week.

The Senate vote was 59-41 to table the measure, which effectively kills it unless Democrats decide to bring it up again.

Earlier, Boehner's proposal was approved by the House in a sharply polarized 218-210 vote that was delayed by a day while the speaker rounded up support from wary tea party conservatives. No Democrats supported the measure, and 22 of the 240 members of the Republican majority also opposed it.

Even though it was blocked in the Senate, the Boehner plan now is the Republican negotiating position for hammering out a deal with congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama to avert a possible government default next week.

owever, no face-to-face talks were scheduled, with Democrats accusing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of refusing to negotiate and McConnell in turn seeking a chance for his caucus to reject a proposal offered by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid as a vehicle for compromise.

Democratic and Republican sources familiar with the situation told CNN that McConnell insists the White House be present in further negotiations toward a debt ceiling deal.

In a continuation of the political theater that has characterized the negotiations so far, the House scheduled a vote on the Reid plan for Saturday -- before the Senate will even begin considering it -- as what appeared to be payback for the rejection by Senate Democrats of the Boehner proposal. (more)