The Corner

Reid’s In, Pelosi Hesitant, GOP Looking for Votes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has, according to his spokesman, “signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.” Reid told reporters earlier that he hoped a vote in the Senate would be possible as early as this evening (A GOP source counters that this is not in the cards). Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) tells reporters that she hasn’t seen all the details of the final proposal, and couldn’t guarantee her support, or the support of her caucus. “We all might not be able to support it, or none of us may be able to support it,” she said.

Clearly, a significant chunk of Pelosi’s caucus is outraged. Progressive Caucus chairman Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) said the proposed deal “trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it.” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D., Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called it “a sugar-coated Satan sandwich.” The two chairmen have scheduled a joint-press conference on Monday to call on President Obama to raise the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th amendment.

In the Senate, GOP support for a deal seems a matter of mere formality, especially given that conservatives members don’t seem to be planning to hold things up. House Republicans, on the other hand, are still looking to bring a significant number of the members on board with a final deal. An aide tells NRO that defense cuts remain the sticking point — both in terms of the trigger mechanism and in the amount of up-front cuts to the defense budget. “If the numbers don’t add up, we could lose 40 to 50 members,” the aide said. That is on top of the conservative defectors that House leaders already expect will oppose the plan, such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who was one of 22 Republicans to vote against House Speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) deficit plan. A group of reporters caught Chaffetz on his way to Sen. Mike Lee’s (R., Utah) office on the Senate side of the Capitol. Asked about the reported deal, Chaffetz said he would not be inclined to support a final deal that did not require the passage of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. He sounded rather pessimistic about the GOP whip count in the House. “Speaker Boehner’s going to have his hands full,” he said.

Both parties have planned meetings or conference calls with their caucuses, but are still awaiting final details.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


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