Republican hard-liners threaten Boehner's plan

Joe Walsh and Rand Paul at a Tea Party rally on Wednesday Image copyright AP
Image caption Hard-line Tea Party member, such as Joe Walsh, left, and Rand Paul, right rallied on Wednesday

While the world urges America's politicians to get a move on and lift their borrowing limit, the vote in the House has been delayed.

While we all hold our breath, they have moved on to the weighty business of naming Post Offices.

Everyone believes the vote has been pulled for a while because the Republican speaker hasn't got the votes he needs. He's been seeing people all afternoon.

Yesterday's hectoring ("get your ass into gear") has been replaced by a lower-key effort to persuade those reluctant to back him. One congressman told me that a couple of senior members had talked to him on the floor of the House. Very reasonable. Detailed arguments. Definitely no arm-twisting. He's still planning to vote "No".

So if John Boehner does, sometime tonight, get enough votes for his plan, it will have been after a titanic struggle with his own more hard-line members.

This matters a lot. If the Boehner plan does pass it next goes to the Senate. The Democratic majority there has sworn to defeat it. So then the natural thing would be to amend the plan, and tinker with it enough to attract some Democratic votes.

On the other hand, imagine just how hard it would be to sell a compromise to the hard-liners in the House, if Mr Boehner is having so much trouble with his purely Republican plan.