The Republican-sponsored Cut, Cap and Balance Act passed the House Tuesday evening. The bill calls for drastic cuts in federal spending, a federal spending limit based on the GDP, and enshrines a balanced budget into the constitution before the debt ceiling can be raised from $14.3 trillion to $16.8 trillion. The bill still has to pass the Senate, controlled by the Democrats, and then be signed by the President, which he's said won't happen, before it will ever come into effect. Still, this is a big development in the ongoing dramatics surrounding the debt crisis. The L.A. Times' Michael A. Memoli reports that Democrats were almost unanimously against the bill, but that it, "clears the way for a final round of negotiations aimed at settling on a consensus plan that could move through both chambers." Negotiations are expected to resume tomorrow at the White House, and congress has been informed that weekend legislative sessions have been booked.
There were five Democrats who voted for the bill: Dan Boren (D-OK), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), and Heath Shuler (D-NC). There were seven Republicans who voted against the bill: Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Paul Broun (R-GA), Francisco Canseco (R-TX), Scott Desjarles (R-TN), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Connie Mack (R-FL), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
ABC News' John R. Parkinson reports that Speaker of the House John Boehner, "praised the House for passing the legislation, which he noted will 'stop the Washington spending binge and rein in the deficits that are hurting job growth.'" Ron Paul said the spending cuts in the bill were not substantial enough to earn his support, but he also said he has never voted to raise the debt ceiling. Michelle Bachman echoed Paul's sentiments and she said the bill doesn't go far enough with, "fundamentally restructuring the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars" to meet her liking.
Nancy Pelosi said that economists predict this bill would kill 700,000 jobs and, "is the Republican budget that was voted on earlier this year all over again."
Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler looks at both sides of the Cut, Capped and Balanced coin.
The good news is that the legislation will now die a quiet death in the Senate. The better news is that, when the ballet is finally over, the House and Senate will finally figure out how exactly they'll raise the statutory debt limit.
The bad news is that time is running out. August 2 is the drop dead date before the country defaults on its debt, and still neither of the viable options on the table -- the grand bargain, the backup plan, or anything in between -- can pass in the House, where the agenda is currently driven by hot-tempered conservatives.
If nothing can come when negotiations at the White House resume Wednesday, most are pointing towards the Gang of Six's revived $3.7 trillion plan as the next viable option. Even the President is supporting it.