Debt Limit Limbo: House Won't Vote Tonight

House Speaker Boehner may not have the votes to pass his debt bill

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Update 12:00 midnight: The Rules Committee met at 11:00 p.m. to alter the bill in an attempt to get the 216 votes required tomorrow. "No one here, senior or junior, can tell me what the recipe is for conjuring up the votes or what is the way forward," tweets Fox News Congressional reporter Chad Pergram. Pergram also reports the Rules Committee approved a rule waiving the 2/3 requirement to consider a rule, and then bring it up on the floor the same day. Politico's Jake Sherman reports House GOP are considering adding the Balanced Budget Amendment to the debt ceiling. There is no official word whether the Boehner debt bill will come to a vote Friday, but the passing of the same day authority suggests that possibility.

Update 10:35 p.m.: Kevin McCarthy spoke to reporters at the White House and told them there would be no vote tonight, Fox News's Chad Pergram reports. NBC producer Frank Thorp was told there would be no vote by GOP whip Mitch McConnell. Pergram is also reporting the Rules Committee is on stand by for the night and the Senate is going to shut down their operations for the evening.

Update 10:10 p.m.: Luke Russert of NBC News is reporting on Twitter that a Republican aide was unclear whether a vote would happen tonight. The aide would only say, "we'll see." The Hill's Michael O'Brien reports in their liveblog the bill is heading back to the Rules Committee to alter parts of the bill related to Pell Grants to appease some freshman GOP.

Update 9:19 p.m.:  Politico reports that Boehner may modify the bill to bring in Republicans who are on the fence. "Boehner has been engaged in intense one-on-one meetings with Republicans in an effort to win today’s fight. Still lacking the votes at 9 p.m., Republicans were considering sending their bill back to the Rules Committee for minor tweaks to win more votes." Zeke Miller at Business Insider notes that "Going back to the Rules Committee would take hours — perhaps all night — and it remains unclear if/when the House will vote on the Boehner bill tonight."

Update 8:50 p.m.: On CNN, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich states the obvious:"The face that they're not going to a vote, suggests he doesn't have the votes yet." Meanwhile, chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin says the White House is awaiting a vote hoping Boehner can get a bill passed so negotiations can move forward.

Update 8:19 p.m.: In a troubling sign for House Speaker Boehner, The Hill newspaper's latest count on Republicans "against/leaning no" on the bill is 25. The bill can only survive 24 "no" votes. Trying to predict the bill's passage, reporter Michael O'Brien says "Given how close the votes are right now, maybe 50/50."

Update 7:58 p.m.: Looks like Republicans are expecting a late night. "The office of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) just had 19 boxes of pizza delivered on loading carts," reports The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, "Harry Reid says he doesn't expect a vote until 9 PM at earliest, Senate gaveled out until then."

Update 7:46 p.m.: As the GOP leadership corals the necessary votes behind closed doors, The Wall Street Journal counts a slightly more favorable spread for Speaker Boehner than National Journal's latest count. Boehner can only afford to lose 24 Republicans and the Journal counts 20 "no" votes at this point. Still it's too close to call at this point. As NBC News's Capitol Hill reporter Luke Russert tweets "This is one of those rare #DC moments where not 1 reporter knows what's really going on."

Update 7:18 p.m.: With the House in recess, Republican Representative Joe Walsh tells CNN he won't support Boehner's plan saying "the American people are behind us." Walsh and a small group of Republicans continue to push for the Cut, Cap and Balance bill, which included a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that Democrats and President Obama refused to even consider. National Journal is keeping a running list of where Republicans are on the bill. Currently, the count is at 22 no's and four undecided.

Update 6:44 p.m.: Looks like Congress is in this together. NBC News producer Libby Leist tweets that the Senate will wait for the House to vote. "Dems say 'If they’re going to hold their vote we’re going to hold ours.'" The Senate is expected to reject Boehner's bill.

Update 6:25 p.m.: The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has confirmed with several reporters that the debt ceiling vote will be tonight. "Keep in mind....GOP is said to be close. They may just want to nail this down in private rather than on the floor," tweets Fox News reporter Chad Pergram.

Update 6:03 p.m.: It appears Boehner didn't have the votes. The Hill newspaper has been keeping a running list of where Republican's lean on the bill. Thus far, 25 Republicans are "against/leaning no." As Dave Weigel notes "If every Democrat votes against it, it can only withstand 24 'nos.'" Bob Cusack and Russel Berman say GOP leaders are "desperately looking for the votes" to pass the bill tonight. They note that "there are more than three dozen Republicans who are publicly undecided, and 10 of them said or suggested on Thursday that they are still on the fence."

Update 5:48 p.m.:  Aides to Republican leaders tell Politico and NBC News correspondent Chuck Todd the vote will still happen tonight. The staff at Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office tell National Journal the same thing.

The House vote to lower the deficit and raise the debt ceiling has been postponed indefinitely, according to a number of reports. The vote on a bill sponsored by House Speaker John Boehner was scheduled for 6 p.m. A number of Capitol Hill reporters musing on Twitter suspect that the vote was delayed because Boehner didn't have the votes to pass the bill. A number of hard-right Republicans had protested Boehner's bill, preferring a Cut Cap and Balance bill that was recently abandoned. Upping the pressure on freshman Republicans, Sarah Palin issued a vague threat from her Facebook account suggesting that she may primary Republicans running in 2012 who support the Boehner plan. Earlier today, Boehner had said "For the sake of jobs, for the sake of our country, I'm asking the Representatives in the House in a bipartisan way and asking my colleagues in the Senate, let's pass this bill and end this crisis."

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