House to cast vote on Boehner debt-ceiling bill after markets close

The House won't hold what's expected to be a nail-biter of a vote on Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) plan to raise the debt limit until after the closing of U.S. financial markets on Thursday.

A vote on Boehner's plan has been scheduled between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., well after the U.S. stock market closes at 4.

The decision means lawmakers won't be casting their votes with plunging or rising markets as a backdrop. In the fall of 2008, the House rejected a financial bailout, and the Dow Jones Industrial lost hundreds of points. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Markets have been falling for the last three days as nerves frayed over whether Congress will act to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department has warned it could run out of money to make U.S. government payments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 200 points in Wednesday's trading, the largest single loss in roughly two months.

The vote on Boehner's plan is expected to go down to the wire, as several Republicans have already announced their opposition, arguing it does not go far enough to tackle the deficit.

Twenty-two House Republicans are either planning to vote no or are leaning against the package, according to The Hill's Whip List. If no Democrats vote for the plan, Boehner can afford only 23 GOP defections. More than two dozen other Republicans are undecided. 

Support for the package did gain some steam on Wednesday after some intense selling from Boehner and others, as several previously undecided members said they were leaning toward supporting it.

Boehner's office had to go back to the drawing board on the plan after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined it would save less than he was claiming.

The revamped version now would cut $917 billion in spending, exceeding the $900 billion the package would add to the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

Boehner's plan would also create a commission charged with finding another $1.8 trillion in savings by Nov. 23, and would require a second debt-limit increase before the 2012 elections — something President Obama has strongly opposed. 

Even if Boehner's bill passes the House, the White House has threatened to veto the package, and Senate Democrats are lined up en masse to oppose it.

This story was updated at 12:50 p.m.