House approves speaker's debt plan

The House approved legislation on Friday by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to reduce the deficit by $915 billion over 10 years and increase the federal debt ceiling by $900 billion. The bill would allow for an additional $1.5 trillion increase in the debt ceiling early next year contingent on two outcomes: Congress enacting further deficit reductions and a balanced budget amendment sent to the states.

The latter condition was added after GOP leaders failed to secure enough votes for passage on Thursday. The language was added to appease hold-out fiscal conservatives. The speaker's proposal passed on a party line vote, 218-210.

Boehner's bill now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has pledged its swift defeat. All Senate Democratic Caucus members are set to vote for a motion to table the Boehner bill. Reid has offered a counter proposal to reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion over 10 years and provide for just one increase in the debt ceiling through the 2012 elections, which the White House favors. Reid was expected to file cloture on his plan, with a vote expected early Sunday morning.

However, leaders in both parties offered little insight as to how they will find compromise in the two proposals, pass them in both chambers, and get a bill to the White House that President Obama will sign by Tuesday, when the U.S. begins to default on its debts.

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