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September 29, 2020

US debt: Boehner tells Republicans to ‘fall in line’

WASHINGTON – Speaker John Boehner is urging Republicans in the House of Representatives to back his plan to cut the US budget and raise the debt limit. Boehner’s appeal to conservative House Repu­blicans came despite a White House veto threat and rejection from Democratic leaders in the Senate, BBC News reported.

The House scheduled a vote on the plan for Thursday in what was to be a major test for whether the GOP caucus can push through the Boehner measure in the face of an expected unified Democratic opposition. Republicans hold 240 of the 433 votes to be cast and need 217 of their members to support the plan for it to pass. Two House seats are currently vacant, according to CNN.

Wall Street suffered its worst day in two months, as fears mounted the US would fail to authorise more borrowing. The US risks default if the debt limit is not raised by 2 August, BBC also noted.

The federal government runs a budget deficit that topped USD 1.5 tn earlier this year, and has amassed a national debt of USD 4.3 tn. Boehner’s plan would trim USD 917 bln from the US budget deficit over 10 years and would raise the debt limit by up to USD 900 bln.

Meanwhile, Senate Demo­crats are holding back on a vote to pass their own plan – more than twice the size of Boehner’s. But the 51 Senate Democrats and two independents who vote alongside them released a letter on Wednesday promising to vote against the Boehner plan. The White House has also said President Barack Obama’s senior advisers would recommend he veto it.

On Wednesday, Boehner and his lieutenants met restive members of the House rank and file – including some who oppose lifting the debt limit under any circumstances – to persuade them to back his plan. “Get your ass in line,” Boehner was quoted as saying.

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