Democratic aides were crowing late Thursday afternoon when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) abruptly postponed a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan until later in the evening.
GOP leadership aides were tight-lipped on the reason for the delay. The House recessed just before 7 p.m., but the office of Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) informed Members there would still be a vote Thursday, and a handful of GOP Members were seen filing into his office to talk to leaders.
The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the chamber still plans to take up the Boehner bill Thursday night, should the House pass it.
Although Boehner (R-Ohio), Cantor and McCarthy were confident they would have the votes to pass the bill, Democratic aides said Republicans were having difficulty rounding up enough support among conservatives. A Democratic leadership aide said, “I guess they just need a little bit of time to ‘convince’ those folks.”
A second Democratic aide said more seriously, “It’s clear Republicans are having trouble getting the votes on their side for Speaker Boehner’s partisan bill, which shows that they should be working with Democrats on something that can actually pass both chambers and be signed into law.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters earlier Thursday that Boehner’s plan “will not win with Democratic votes.” Behind the scenes, top aides and Members maintained that not a single Democrat would cross the aisle to vote for the Boehner proposal.
“I’m not speaking for every Member in my Caucus, but I feel confident if they’re going to have 217 votes, whatever it is, they’re going to have to be Republican votes,” Pelosi said at a briefing.