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Boehner Debt Bill May Be Picking Up Steam

It would appear that Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) has been a quick study of the art of arm twisting as he slowly picks up momentum for his debt limit and deficit reduction plan.

Less than 24 hours after it appeared Boehner would not be able to rally enough GOP support for his bill thanks to conservative opposition, the Speaker suddenly seemed to have picked up momentum Wednesday morning.

“From what I saw in there, I think there’s a pretty good change of heart,” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said following an early morning meeting of the GOP. Although West had already indicated he would support the bill, he said the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimate of the bill and lobbying by leaders seemed to have help turn the page on the measure.

Asked if he thought the bill would be passed, West said, “I believe it [will]. I’d almost put my retirement check on it.”

One conservative lawmaker said Boehner and his lieutenants have been pushing their Conference hard on the issue. “They’re working it hard. They’re working it earnestly. They’re working it aggressively,” the lawmaker said.

The pressure seems to have had an effect — for instance Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), who Tuesday was leaning toward opposing the bill, is now on the fence.

Boehner is planning a vote on the bill Thursday.

Since becoming Speaker, Boehner has emphasized a leadership style which allows the House to work its will rather than a more traditional top down approach. But with the nation bearing down on an Aug. 2 deadline to avert a default and raise the debt ceiling, Boehner has changed tactics in order to secure passage of his measure to raise the debt limit in two stages while cutting the deficit at the same time.

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