House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) on Thursday introduced a debt-ceiling proposal that is identical to the one being considered in the Senate from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
A House staffer said Reid's bill was introduced as a possible backup plan, "just in case" it is needed for the House to put forward a debt ceiling plan. But a key House Democrat said Friday afternoon he was worried it could be a sign that Republicans might be bringing it up only to have it fail.
"My concern is that the Republican leadership will think somehow it is appropriate to bring the Reid bill up under a suspension of the rules, just to vote it down just to make a political point," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said in a hastily arranged Rules Committee meeting. "I would just urge the chairman and the leadership here… enough of that."
Dreier did not say explicitly that this would not happened, but did say there are "no plans at this point to bring the Reid bill up."
McGovern took that as "reassurance" that Republicans will not be bringing up the bill to purposely to defeat it.
Reid’s bill was scored as cutting $2.2 trillion over 10 years, although Republicans have criticized the bill for cutting spending in areas where cuts already were anticipated, such as military spending overseas. For that reason, House Republicans say about half of these cuts are “gimmicks.”
Still, Boehner’s bill was scored at saving less than $1 trillion, so the two parties are somewhat close on an initial amount cut over the next decade. But the House GOP plan also would set up another $1.8 trillion in cuts.
Despite Dreier’s introduction of the Reid bill, House Republicans on Friday seemed to be coming around to supporting Boehner’s plan, in a vote now expected Friday evening. They added a balanced-budget amendment to the plan that appeared to be allowing conservative Republicans to sign onto the bill.
But even if the House can approve Boehner’s plan, Senate Democrats have vowed to defeat it.
Reid said Friday morning he was moving ahead with his plan in the Senate and that he was open to amending his proposal.
He extended another invitation to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to meet with him on it.
“I hope my friend, Senator McConnell, will come to me by the end of the day and indicate what constructive ideas he has to move the process along,” Reid said.
-- Josiah Ryan and Alexander Bolton contributed.
-- This story was last updated at 1:31 p.m.