WASHINGTON (WWJ/AP) – Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, facing a conservative revolt, unexpectedly put off a vote Thursday night on a bill to increase the U.S. debt limit, creating more turmoil as a deadline for avoiding a government default was only days away.
Republican leaders failed to muster enough votes to pass the bill through the lower chamber and announced their decision to not hold a vote Thursday night. They abruptly halted debate on the legislation and plunged into an intensive round of meetings with rebellious conservatives.
What will happen if Congress and the White House can’t reach an agreement on a deal to lift the federal debt ceiling?
Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin says millions of Americans will feel the pain from a government default.
“If Tuesday comes and we don’t raise the debt limit, there’s gonna be a whole lot of people who are not gonna get the benefits owning to them. Whether it’s Social Security, whether it’s veterans, whether it’s people building our roads, that’s going to be decided by the Treasury on Tuesday if we don’t raise the debt limit,” Levin said.
Levin says the GOP plan has no chance of surviving in the Senate.
“Well, we’re gonna have cuts in spending, that’s in both bills. But, what we’re not gonna do is just have this all replayed a few months down the road,” said Levin.
“This is too much uncertainty, too much instability. It is wrong for our people and our economy, for us not to compromise and work out something,” he said.
State Budget Director John Nixon says Michigan draws about $400 million a week from federal funds that could suddenly dry up next week, if there’s no action on the debt crisis. Nixon says he’s not sure how Michigan will make payments to food stamp and welfare recipients and Medicaid providers if the federal government defaults.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.