PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Congress is poised to vote on a last-minute debt deal, but does the measure have enough votes to pass?
Congressional leaders seem confident enough to schedule a vote later this evening in both the House and the Senate.
The deal is complicated, but most local members of Congress seem likely to vote yes.
Democratic and Republican leaders compromised with President Obama, but now it takes rank-and-file members of Congress to make it law.
“It’s going to have to be bipartisan in both the House and the Senate if this passes,” Rep. Jason Altmire, (D-McCandless) said.
In the Senate, Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) is voting yes, but Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) is not so sure. The organization he once led, Club for Growth, is urging a no vote.
However, the compromise is expected to pass the Senate. It’s the House where both liberal Democrats and conservative Tea Party Republicans are unhappy.
“If you look at who is opposed to it, it is the far extremes of both parties,” Altmire said. “The far left and the far right appear to be in opposition.”
Some Democrats said it cuts too much without closing tax loopholes, while some Republicans said it doesn’t go far enough in government spending.
“It’s far from perfect, but it’s far from done,” Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) said.
Murphy said the argument was messy, but he’s inclined to vote yes.
“We are talking about a much more comprehensive plan that will make some immediate cuts, dollar for dollar cuts, actually more cuts than the debt ceiling will go up,” Murphy said.
What is not in the bill makes Altmire likely to vote yes.
“It does exclude military pay, veterans pay, and Social Security,” he said. “That’s something that would have been a deal-breaker for me if they had been included in there.”
While Congress debates the merits of the compromise, a scheduled month-long break would be postponed if they voted down the deal.
It’s one more incentive for rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats to get behind their leaders.