The Republican-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed on Friday Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the nation's the debt ceiling and slash government spending, CNN reported.
Boehner’s proposal was approved by the House in a 218-210 vote. The measure will now be sent to the Senate, where the ruling Democrats have promised to immediately defeat it.
However, CNN noted that even if Boehner’s plan is defeated in the Senate, it is now the official Republican negotiating position for hammering out a deal with congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama to avert a possible government default next week.
In his floor speech prior to the vote, Boehner called the proposal imperfect but necessary. He criticized Obama and congressional Democrats for rejecting all deficit reduction measures passed by the House so far.
“We’ve tried to do our level best, but some people continue to say no,” Boehner was quoted by CNN as having said. “I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States.”
Boehner then called on Obama’s administration to “put something on the table. Tell us where you are.”
Earlier in the day Obama urged Senate Democrats and Republicans to take the lead in the congressional deliberations.
He said that Boehner’s plan “has no chance of becoming law,” and added, “The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now. ... It’s important for everybody to step up and show the leadership that the American people expect.”
As the Democrats and Republicans continue to argue, the clock is ticking. If the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar.
A video released by Economics professor Antony Davies has estimated the total debt of unfunded obligations – the total amount of money the federal government has borrowed or has promised to pay other people – at $65 trillion, an amount far greater than the economic output of the entire planet.
The disagreement between the Republicans and the Democrats centers around the Republicans’ insistence on commensurate spending cuts for any rise in the debt ceiling, while the Obama Administration is insisting on tax hikes as a major contributor to cutting the budget deficits.
The Senate’s Democratic Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has been pushing his own counter plan to Boehner’s. Reid announced on Friday that he intends to “take action” on a Senate bill by the end of the day.