“Cut, Cap and Balance” Vote Marks Power of House Freshman Conservatives

Huge deficit-cutting bill sails through GOP House

David Espo|Yahoo!News, AP

Huge deficit-cutting bill races through Republican House; bipartisan effort picks up support

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying a veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted Tuesday night to slice federal spending by $6 trillion and require a constitutional balanced budget amendment to be sent to the states in exchange for averting a threatened Aug. 2 government default.

The 234-190 vote marked the power of deeply conservative first-term Republicans, and it stood in contrast to calls at the White House and in the Senate for a late stab at bipartisanship to solve the nation’s looming debt crisis.

President Barack Obama and a startling number of Republican senators lauded a deficit-reduction plan put forward earlier in the day by a bipartisan “Gang of Six” lawmakers that calls for $1 trillion in what sponsors delicately called “additional revenue” and some critics swiftly labeled as higher taxes.

The president said he hoped congressional leaders would “start talking turkey” on a deal to reduce deficits and raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit as soon as Wednesday, using that plan as a roadmap.

Wall Street cheered the news of possible compromise as well. The Dow Jones industrials average soared 202 points, the biggest one-day leap this year.

Treasury officials say that without an increase in U.S. borrowing authority by Aug. 2, the government will not be able to pay all its bills, and default could result in severe consequences for the economy.

Yet a few hours after Obama spoke at the White House, supporters of the newly passed House measure breathed defiance.

“Let me be clear. This is the compromise. This is the best plan out there,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, head of a conservative group inside the House known as the Republican Study Committee.

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