WASHINGTON — An intense endgame at hand, House Republican leaders put off a vote Thursday night on legislation to avert a threatened government default and slice federal spending by nearly $1 trillion.
GOP leaders announced their decision after abruptly halting debate on the legislation and plunging into an intensive round of meetings with rebellious conservatives.
The decision created fresh turmoil as a divided government struggled to head off a default threatened after next Tuesday that would leave the Treasury without the funds needed to pay all its bills.
As the evening slipped by, the White House poked fun at Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner, who has become President Barack Obama’s principal antagonist in a contentious era of divided government. And Senate Democrats pledged to scuttle the measure — if it ever got to them — to force a final compromise.
Boehner summoned a string of Republican critics of the bill to his office.
Asked what he and the speaker had talked about, Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said, “I think that’s rather obvious. ... There’s negotiations going on.”