House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is waiting to see if his colleagues will vote for his plan, which includes a phased approach to increasing the debt limit as well as cutting spending. Boehner's plan would implement a $1 trillion debt limit increase and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts now, and then add another $1.6 trillion increase in the debt limit and $1.8 trillion in spending cuts later.
It's unclear at this time whether Tea Party members and other conservatives will line up behind the plan, however.
"Conservatives aren't happy with this plan; they want passage of a balanced budget amendment," Bolton says. "And they're threatening to vote against it and kill it in the house."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told a group of his conservative colleagues in a private meeting Tuesday to "stop their grumbling and whining," adds Bolton.
Prospects for an alternative plan from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seem just as murky. It would need 60 votes to pass the Senate, meaning it would have to garner some Republican votes. If Boehner's plan passes in the House, however, Bolton expect Republicans would likely line up behind that scheme and vote down Reid's proposal.
"It's hard to see at this point how the party leaders bridge this gap," Bolton says. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are reportedly working on a hybrid plan that would be a mix of Boehner and Reid's proposals, "but right now there is no path forward," says Bolton.