Rep. Mike Pence, the conservative congressman from Indiana, told reporters today he was a “yes” on House Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the debt limit.
To help win him and other Republicans over, leadership agreed to hold two votes on the Balanced Budget Amendment on Friday. One would be the more recent version, which has a supermajority requirment for tax increases. The other would be what Pence described as a “clean” or “historical” version, which would not have that supermajority requirement. The latter is the version that nearly passed in the 1990s.
Pence said while his preference would be the more recent amendment, he would still support the other one because it has a “fighting chance” of getting 290 votes in the House and the 67 votes in the Senate required to send it to the states for ratification.
He said he decided, “in good faith, we ought to play it straight,” and give Democrats the chance to vote for a BBA they could support.
Pence didn't want to vote for a debt limit increase unless Republicans did everything in their powers to send a BBA to the Senate and to the states, he said.
If the amendment were to pass both chambers, it would still need to get approved by 38 states — a process that has taken seven years, on average. Then Congress would have two years to balance the budget. Though they could bypass that requirement with a supermajority.