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House vote first test of debt-ceiling bill

August 01, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to the media after a caucus meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to the media after a caucus meeting… (Joshua Roberts / Reuters )

The first test of legislation to raise the nation's debt ceiling comes in the House, which plans to vote Monday evening on the plan agreed to by party leaders Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would work to take up the plan Monday as well, though that would be a challenge given traditional delaying tactics that may be employed.

Passage in either chamber is far from assured. Some Republicans are objecting to the possibility of steep cuts in defense spending, while others continue to oppose any debt-ceiling increase. Liberal Democrats think the so-called compromise was more like a cave-in.

Outside groups were weighing in as well. The conservative Club for Growth said it "strongly opposed" the legislation and would include the vote in its ranking system used to determine endorsements. called it "a bad deal for our fragile economic recovery, a bad deal for the middle class and a bad deal for tackling our real long-term budget problems."

Reid, of Nevada, said he was "hopeful" the plan could pass but offered no assurances.

"We'll have to see. ... I'm not here to declare victory," he told reporters.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) was more optimistic. "You will see this new debt plan pass with an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate," he wrote on Twitter. But fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, a rising Republican star, is among the handful of early declared "no" votes.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney disputed the notion that the deal was one-sided. Though there was no agreement to find new revenues, the White House sees "enormous potential" for further deficit reduction through the new joint committee that would meet the president's call for "balance."

"It is a balanced compromise reflective of a divided government," Carney said.

Obama recorded a message posted to his campaign website Monday, also stressing the role of the committee.


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