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Reid Bill Fails in Symbolic Vote

Updated: 5:33 p.m.

The House on Saturday easily rejected SenaBote Majority Leader Harry Reid’s debt limit plan, the latest in an ongoing series of purely political votes both chambers have taken.

The 246-173 defeat, with 11 Democrats voting against the Nevada Democrat’s bill — which included most of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (Ky.) Plan B proposal — was not unexpected.

Both chambers have taken symbolic votes defeating the other’s proposal, although in this case the House actually voted to defeat the bill before the Senate had even taken it up.

Senate Republicans are filibustering Reid’s bill and are expected to defeat it during a vote scheduled for 1 a.m. Sunday. But House Republicans — hoping to make a political point that the Reid plan is unworkable — opted to take up the measure before that.

Political machinations aside, the two parties remained no closer to an agreement Saturday afternoon. There was some hope that the political theater could provide cover for a deal between Democrats and Republicans. But with tea party conservatives twisting the GOP into knots at every turn, that prospect remained dim.

Following the vote, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and McConnell held a press conference to tout the House’s symbolic vote while criticizing Reid’s handling of the bill.

“We ought to end that charade and get working” on a deal, McConnell said.

McConnell said he had “talked with the president and the vice president within the last hour” and that negotiations had resumed.

“We’re now fully engaged with the one person … who can sign a bill into law,” McConnell said.

Boehner also said he is “confident that we’re going to come to some agreement with the White House.”

Meanwhile, Boehner met with the Tuesday Group, a coalition of 35 moderate Republican House Members, to discuss the status of the negotiations. Although moderates have been increasingly marginalized as the House Conference has moved to the right, they could prove critical to any deal on the debt.

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