After two more votes on Saturday, Washington's impasse continues as the Senate becomes the center of action
In a symbolic vote that underscored the ongoing deadlock on how to resolve the impasse before the Aug. 2 deadline, the House on Saturday defeated a Senate proposal to raise the debt ceiling. It was the latest act in an elaborate weekend of kabuki theater on Capitol Hill.
The House voted mostly along party lines, 246-173, to defeat a proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that aims to reduce the deficit by $2.4 trillion over ten years and raises the debt ceiling by the same amount. House Republicans oppose the plan because they contend it contains budgetary gimmicks that don't save enough money and gives too much leeway to President Obama to raise the debt ceiling without sufficient deficit reduction measures. Immediately afterwards, Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi headed to the White House for a closed-door meeting the President Obama.
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House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared before reporters at a mid-afternoon press conference to offer reassurances that the United States will not default on its debt for the first time in history. McConnell said he has spoken with both Obama and Vice President Biden this afternoon and have begun negotiation a deal. "I am confident and optimistic we're going to get an agreement," he said. Added Boehner: "Despite our differences, we're dealing with reasonable, responsible people who want this crisis to end as quickly as possible."