Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has his work cut out for him in passing a bill to raise the $18.1 trillion debt ceiling. The lame-duck Speaker needs to win 30 Republican votes to lift the government’s borrowing limit, even if the entire House Democratic Caucus votes with him. Boehner was only able to pull 28 votes the last time the House approved a clean debt-ceiling increase — and one-third of those lawmakers have since left Congress. Now Boehner is even weaker politically, and he has little time to act. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has urged Congress to raise the debt limit before Nov. 3, when his team will have exhausted its powers to remain under the cap. After that date, the government would be left with just cash on hand to pay its bills, which analysts believe could run dry as soon as Nov. 10. The White House has refused to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, and talks on funding the government appear to be on a separate track — giving Boehner little leverage. Most observers see a clean hike by the House as the only way out, and they think Boehner’s decision to resign as Speaker was a sign of his intentions.
Source: The Hill