Saturday's debt-ceiling surprise: GOP and Obama are talking again
After a rancorous day in which Republicans vented their anger at the Senate and President Obama, GOP leaders said they are in talks with the president and that 'the country is not going to default.'
There were signs of movement toward a potential resolution of the federal government’s debt ceiling crisis after both the House and Senate met in unusual Saturday sessions notable for partisan fireworks.Skip to next paragraph
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House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada were called to the White House for a 3:30 p.m. meeting about debt-ceiling negotiations with President Obama.
At about the same time on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky gave a press conference and expressed optimism about reaching a settlement that would keep the nation from being unable to borrow enough to pay its bills.
Senator McConnell said that he had spoken to both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “in the last hour,” and that the White House was “now fully engaged” in conversations with the two Republican leaders about the debt-ceiling crisis. Speaker Boehner said he and McConnell were “both confident” they could “end this impasse."
McConnell added, "Our country is not going to default. We are going to get a result."
His tone was strikingly at odds with everything that had transpired in the House and Senate up to that point Saturday, strongly suggesting that much of what had gone on before had been political theater aimed at allowing Republicans to vent their anger.
On Friday, the House bill that Boehner had spent all week crafting and recrafting was summarily dismissed in a matter of minutes by the Senate. It was the second time in a week that the Senate had dismissed a House debt-ceiling plan without debate, leading to frustration among House Republicans.
On Saturday, House Republicans essentially showed the Senate that it could play the same game. They brought to the floor one version of a debt-control plan authored by Senator Reid. It was brought to the floor under rules that did not allow amendments and required a two-thirds majority for passage.It fell well short of even a simple majority in a 246-to-173 vote.