GOP backs away from House debt-limit vote

House Republicans are backing away from a tentative plan to vote Friday on raising the debt limit with a package of conservative reforms, leaving them without a clear path forward ahead of the looming Nov. 3 deadline.

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) had authored a proposal that would hike the debt limit into 2017, impose a freeze on new regulations, ban the Senate from filibustering spending bills after October and prevent either chamber from adjourning in September if they haven’t finished work on appropriations bills.

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But GOP aides indicated Thursday that the bill is now unlikely to hit the floor this week. The RSC is comprised of about 170 members, which is short of the 218 votes needed to pass legislation.

One source said GOP centrists were objecting to a show-vote measure they believed had little chance of success, given opposition to the plan in the Senate.

With the RSC plan now on the shelf, it's unclear what the House's next move will be on the debt limit, with less than two weeks to go until the Treasury Department says the nation faces a potential default.

On Wednesday, the House passed legislation prioritizing certain debt payments in the event of a default. But Senate Democrats have said they oppose that measure, and President Obama has threatened to veto it.

Pressure has been growing on House Republicans to take action ahead of the deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProgressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters Pelosi signals flexibility on size of renewed unemployment payments Lincoln Project reports raising .8 million for anti-Trump efforts MORE (R-Ky.) had said it's up to the lower chamber to make the first move.

The RSC bill had emerged as one option, but Republican senators balked at the idea that the House would try to change Senate rules, while House and Senate Democrats vow only to support a “clean” debt-limit bill with no preconditions.

The RSC plan had been in the works for a Friday vote but was never officially scheduled. House GOP leaders had been whipping the measure in recent days to gauge its support.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: New polls show Biden leading by landslide margins The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - In Rose Garden, Trump launches anti-Biden screed Battle brewing on coronavirus relief oversight MORE (R-Texas) suggested that while the Senate is waiting for now, it could be forced to move a debt bill first.  

"At some point we probably can't afford to wait any longer," the Senate's No. 2 Republican told reporters. "I don't know exactly what the drop-dead date is but something needs to start moving here pretty soon."

Asked if Senate Republicans would offer a clean bill if they have to move first, Cornyn said "that's not the way it will start" but noted there would be amendments.

He declined to to discuss what could be included in the Senate bill.

This story was updated at 2:52 p.m. Vicki Needham and Jordain Carney contributed.