House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at just concluded press conference that it was now up to the Senate to pass its own plan to raise the debt ceiling.
“The House has done its job," Boehner said. "We’ve given the president an increase in the debt ceiling of $2.4 trillion, which would take us at least the next 18 months. For that, we’re asking for real cuts in spending and a balanced budget amendment. So the House has done its job, and I hope that the Senate will do theirs.”
As he was holding his press conference, the Senate was voting to table the Cut, Cap and Balance plan passed by the House this week.
“If they don’t like our version of Cut, Cap and Balance that two-thirds of the American people support, then what’s their plan?" Boehner said. "They can make amendments to it and send it back over.”
Boehner also took another opportunity to shoot down news reports that he was close to striking a deal with President Obama.
"There was no agreement – publicly, privately, never an agreement," he said. "And frankly, not close to an agreement. And so I would just suggest it’s going to be a hot weekend here in Washington.”
I asked Boehner whether some sort of short-term agreement would be necessary given that they're closing in on the Aug. 2 deadline, and even if a late deal were struck, it would have to be written, scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and passed by the House and Senate.
“It is not what the goal here is," Boehner responded. "As I said, there are two challenges here that we have to overcome. We have to raise the debt ceiling, and we have to have a serious down payment on reducing our budget deficit and our debt.”
Saying it isn't the goal is different than saying it isn't going to happen. Some sort of short-term extension seems inevitable, if nothing else but to give them time to do all the procedural things if they're close to a bigger deal. There's nothing ideologically preventing either side from this, and as I've noted, both chambers have already voted for deficit spending through Sept. 30, so there's an easy argument for extending it at leas through then.