Friday, July 29, 2011

DebtCeiling - Friday Update

It is 3:00 pm Friday afternoon here in Winnetka, Illinois, and 4:00pm in our capitol. The House is just back in session to debate Version 3.0 of the Boehner bill, after it was pulled from the floor last night, when it was clear the Speaker did not have the votes. He has added a requirement in his bill that requires Congress to vote on, approve, and send out to the states a Balanced Budget Amendment, before the second increase in the debt ceiling can be approved, presumably in the Spring of next year. Boehner's bill will probably pass, and will quickly be tabled in the Senate. The Republicans seemed to have wasted 24 precious hours with the only accomplishable objective being to save Boehner's job. Version 3.0 is more partisan than Version 2.0 which was pulled last night. What's up?

Mostly Boehner's pride, I think. Although some Republican advisers have continued saying that getting this bill passed will give Boehner a chance to use it as the basis of the final bill. Reid has said: "No way." But Republicans are not listening.

What's next? Senator Reid will file cloture on his bill tonight, which means it can come to a final vote Monday morning (if he uses the Boehner bill as the "vehicle"), and Tuesday morning, August 2, if he uses his own bill as the transmission vehicle. Reid has invited Senator McConnell to join him to work out a bipartisan agreement, but McConnell won't budge until action on the Speaker's bill is completed (fails in the House or tabled in the Senate).

My conclusion: a bill representing the key points I covered in yesterday's post will make it to the President's desk late Tuesday afternoon, or early evening, August 2 - the day before our money runs out. My odds? Down from  90% to 70%. In my mind, there is a significant chance that no bill will get through the House, based on the fractious nature of the Republican caucus.

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