PBS NewsHour: Plouffe: We Won't Accept Boehner's Short-Term Deal
Congressman Tim Huelskamp appears at 3:18 in the following video
JEFFREY BROWN: The knocks against House Speaker John Boehner's plan for solving the debt crisis came mostly from Democrats today, as more Republicans got on board.
Meanwhile, financial markets nervously notched downward.
KWAME HOLMAN: Republican lawmakers today appeared to rally around House Speaker John Boehner's plan to avoid default, even as it was being retooled to achieve additional savings.
A vote on the Boehner proposal originally planned for today was delayed until tomorrow after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill would cut $850 billion, instead of the $1.2 trillion promised.
Despite the uncertainty about the plan, a wave of House Republicans emerged from their closed-door session this morning resigned to accept it, among them, Florida freshman Allen West, who was elected with strong Tea Party support.
REP. ALLEN WEST, R-Fla.: Does it meet all the criteria I would like to have? No. But I think part of governing is to be able to say, this is good enough for us to go forward.
KWAME HOLMAN: Another freshman, Blake Farenthold of Texas, said he had gone from lean no to lean yes.
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD, R-Texas: Well, you have got to claim a win when you can claim a win. A football game is a great example. "Cut, Cap and Balance," it was a Hail Mary touchdown pass. Let's go and take what we can get in this, get the five yards, get the first down and fight the next battles.
KWAME HOLMAN: Until this point, many conservatives had objected to any move away from that so-called "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan which passed the House last week.
It called for $6 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years, plus a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. But as the Aug. 2 deadline has moved closer, pressure has mounted. Phone calls from citizens around the country flooded member offices again today, while online traffic bombarded congressional websites. And, the influential Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, "If conservatives defeat the Boehner plan, they will not only undermine their House majority. They will go far to re-electing Mr. Obama and making the entitlement state that much harder to reform."
Still, not all Republicans were convinced, including Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.
REP. TIM HUELSKAMP, R-Kan.: It's not about the speaker. It's not about the president. It's not about the Senate leadership. It's about the what the American people are asking for. It's about what my constituents are looking for.
They want a solution. And the deal-making, that's all part of the process up here, but I think people are looking at it and saying, does this solve the problem? And I don't think this does solve the problem.
KWAME HOLMAN: The Boehner plan also faced a firm wall of opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where leaders pledged to turn back the measure if it successfully clears the House.
Majority Leader Harry Reid:
SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev. Majority Leader: Magic things can happen here in Congress in a very short period of time under the right circumstances. But it appears quite clear that Boehner was -- a favor was done by CBO for him yesterday, because his bill was doomed to failure, and he can juggle things around, and he had a caucus today, and they may get it passed. But it doesn't matter. That is a flawed piece of legislation.
KWAME HOLMAN: The CBO also released its score of Reid's plan, projecting savings of $2.2 trillion. That's half-a-trillion* shy of what Democrats had aimed for in order to increase the debt limit through the end of 2012.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer argued the numbers don't lie.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Aside from avoiding default, aside from being more long-term, we have more cuts. On paper, the Republicans have no basis for rejecting the Senate plan.
KWAME HOLMAN: But the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said the Boehner plan offered the only way forward.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky. minority leader: I remain as committed as ever to resolving this crisis in a way that would allow us to avoid default without raising taxes and to cut spending without budget gimmicks. There's only one option that does that, and that's the one Speaker Boehner has proposed.
KWAME HOLMAN: Despite the continued stalemate, the president of the Standard & Poor's ratings agency said he thought lawmakers would beat the clock and not risk default.
On Wall Street today, the impasse caused stocks to slide. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 198 points to close at 12,302. And the Nasdaq fell 75 points to close below 2,765.