A conservative proposal to raise the debt ceiling — known as “Cut, Cap and Balance” — passed the House with bipartisan support late Tuesday, by a vote of 234 to 190. Five Democrats (Boren, Cooper, Matheson, McIntyre and Schuler) voted with the majority, while nine Republicans (Bachmann, Broun, Canseco, DesJarlais, Griffith, Walter Jones, Mack, Paul and Rohrabacher) voted ‘no.’
“House Republicans are the only ones to put forward and pass a real plan that will create a better environment for private-sector job growth by stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have and preventing tax hikes on families and small businesses,” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said in a statement hailing the bill’s passage. “The White House hasn’t said what it will cut. And Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in more than two years. The President should abandon his veto threat, and urge Senate Democrats to quickly pass the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ plan to help get our economy back to creating jobs.”
After the vote, conservative members gathered before TV crews to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to bring the measure to a vote in the Senate, where Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) and company have vowed to take up the fight, despite President Obama’s veto threat. Thus far, they argued, “Cut, Cap and Balance” is the only proposal that can pass the House and actually addresses the country’s long-term fiscal problems. “This is the plan. This is the compromise,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the body largely responsible for the legislation. But what if — as is widely expected — the Senate votes down the measure, or Reid declines to even hold to a vote?
“If the Senate lines up in punt formation, I think you’re going to hear the American people stand up and say ‘block that punt,’” exclaimed Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who introduced “Cut, Cap and Balance.”
Meanwhile, Reid announced that the Senate plans to be in session over the weekend and vote on a contingency plan negotiated by Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). The proposal has been widely panned by conservatives and faces an uphill climb in the House. Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R., Ill.) is circulating a letter to GOP leadership urging them not to bring up the McConnell plan for a vote. As he was leaving the Capitol this evening, Walsh told NRO that he had collected nearly 80 signatures, and hoped to have at least 100 by tomorrow.