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Senate Votes to Table House Debt Bill Without Even Debating on its Merits


Senate will draft a counter-plan.

Friday night the Senate voted to table House Speaker Boehner's debt bill 59 to 41.

This does not mean that the bill has died, but has rather been put aside to be used by Majority Leader Harry Reid as the underlying vehicle from which he will draft a counter-plan. The Reid plan will then be submitted back to the House.

WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) -- In an unforgiving display of partisanship, the House passed emergency legislation Friday night to avoid an unprecedented government default and the Senate scuttled it less than two hours later.

The final outcome - with the White House and Senate Democrats calling anew for compromise while criticizing Republicans as Tuesday's deadline drew near - was anything but certain.

"We are almost out of time" for a compromise, warned President Barack Obama as U.S. financial markets trembled at the prospect of economic chaos next week.

The House vote was 218-210, almost entirely along party lines, on a Republican-drafted bill to provide a quick $900 billion increase in U.S. borrowing authority - essential to allow the government to continue paying all its bills - along with $917 billion in cuts from federal spending.

It was rewritten hastily overnight to say that before any additional increase in the debt limit could take place, Congress must approve a balanced budget-amendment to the Constitution and send it to the states for ratification. That marked a concession to tea party-backed conservatives and others in the rank and file who had thwarted House Speaker John Boehner's attempt to pass the bill Thursday night.

"Today we have a chance to end this debt limit crisis," Boehner declared, his endgame strategy upended by rebels within his own party.

But the changes he made to the House GOP bill further alienated Democrats. And they complicated prospects of a compromise that could clear both houses and win Obama's signature by next Tuesday's deadline.

At the other end of the Capitol, Senate Democrats scuttled the measure without so much as a debate on its merits. The vote was 59-41, with all Democrats, two independents and six Republicans joining in opposition.

Below is a video of the follow-up press conference held by Senate Democrats Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer. Watch as Reid's phone goes off during his remarks:

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