WASHINGTON — A frantic day of legislative maneuvering ended in futility Tuesday for Speaker
The failure leaves a bipartisan
Shortly after House leaders officially called off a vote on their most recent plan, spokesmen for Reid and McConnell said that Senate talks were resuming after a pause to allow Boehner (R-Ohio) a chance to get a bill through the House.
"Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell have reengaged in negotiations and are optimistic that an agreement is within reach," Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said.
Michael Brumas, McConnell's spokesman, said the two senators had "decided to work toward a solution."
Earlier in the day, Fitch Ratings put the government's AAA credit rating on watch for a potential downgrade because of the standoff. The company said it still believed the federal debt limit would be raised soon, but said the "political brinkmanship" was risking a default.
"The U.S. risks being forced to incur widespread delays of payments to suppliers and employees, as well as Social Security payments to citizens — all of which would damage the perception of U.S. sovereign creditworthiness and the economy," the agency added.
Senators had indicated, however, that they would wait only a day to see whether the House could muster a majority.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, after a meeting in Reid’s office, said he wasn’t surprised to hear the House
In an interview with WABC-TV earlier in the day, President
Some Senate Republicans portrayed the decision to wait for Boehner as an effort to save his influence and prevent the House from being dominated by its most ardent conservatives. Many Republican senators blame the conservatives in both chambers for having launched the party on a budget strategy that has failed.
In the end, however, the day's maneuvers reinforced the sense that outside conservative groups now rival Boehner for influence in the House.
The speaker and his lieutenants had negotiated a plan with House members and scheduled a key procedural vote for early evening. Shortly before that could take place, Heritage Action, an influential conservative advocacy group, announced it would oppose the plan because it would not significantly roll back
Within an hour, Boehner was forced to abandon the vote. Aides to the House leadership insisted, however, that the proposal was failing even before Heritage weighed in.
Republicans already had given up almost all of their demands for changes in the healthcare law or other shifts in government policy. With the
“I can understand fighting for your cause, but there comes a point when you have an obligation to the country as a whole,” said Sen.
"The best thing for the country is for John Boehner to be able to deliver," he said. "I just hope our colleagues in the House who believe it's better to have more Republicans, not less, a governing majority, rather than a dysfunctional majority, will help John when he needs their help."