House Republican leaders are temporarily suspending floor action Thursday night so they can intensify efforts to round up enough votes to pass Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling and deficit-reduction bill. A vote later in the evening is still expected.
GOP leaders said they were "very close" to the 216-vote threshold necessary to pass the Boehner bill. But the fluidity of the vote count and the grim reality that Boehner might lose the biggest vote of his young speakership made GOP leaders conspicuously cautious. No one, several GOP sources said, could afford to risk a defeat of Boehner's bill and the image of chaos it would create - not to mention the certain stock market volatility it would trigger.
GOP leaders could not predict a time Thursday when the vote would occur. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy's office advised lawmakers at 6:31 p.m. to "stay nearby as we expect a vote later tonight. Stay tuned for further updates for more accurate timing."