Vote on Debt Plan Delayed: Join the Live Chat
July 28th, 2011
09:47 PM ET

Vote on Debt Plan Delayed: Join the Live Chat

There's still no vote on House Speaker John Boehner's plan to cut the deficit. Could it happen tonight? Stay with us for the breaking news.
Plus, tonight's other headlines.

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Filed under: Live Blog
July 28th, 2011
08:32 PM ET

House vote on GOP debt plan delayed

Washington (CNN) - House Republicans delayed a vote Thursday on Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the nation's debt ceiling while enacting sweeping cuts in government spending, indicating a rift within the GOP could undermine the party's latest attempt to avoid an unprecedented national default and stave off potential economic catastrophe.

The delay showed Boehner was unable to muster sufficient support from his own caucus to guarantee his proposal would pass in the face of expected unified Democratic opposition.

It was unclear if the vote would occur on Thursday night. Influential House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said he expected the Boehner plan to eventually pass, but when asked about timing, answered: "I don't know the answer to that question."

"There is a delay. The reason has not been stated," Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-New York, who supports the plan, told CNN. Hayworth acknowledged that some members "have had a lot of deep thinking to do" about their votes, and said the delay might be to confirm "the last few" supporting votes.

After the announcement of the delay, conservative congressmen were seen entering and leaving Boehner's office as the speaker tried to generate the necessary support. A floor debate on the plan was cut short, and the House moved on to discuss the naming of a post office in Illinois.

Staff members were later seen carrying pizzas from a local restaurant into Boehner's office.

Defeat would be a major setback for Boehner, who assumed his post in January, and further muddy the already tense negotiations over a deficit reduction deal that would also increase the federal borrowing limit. In particular, it would show Boehner was unable to control the tea party conservatives elected last year in a Republican wave that delivered a GOP majority in the House and his ascension to speaker.

Earlier, Boehner declared to reporters that the measure would pass, but Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, only would say progress was being made in rounding up the votes.

Another speaker at the news conference, Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, let slip there's more work to be done, calling on House colleagues "who may not be there yet" but were "moving forward on those votes."

The vote in the House had been scheduled for roughly 6 p.m. ET. Few if any Democrats were expected to back the measure. Assuming House Democrats remain united against the bill, Boehner will need the support of at least 216 of the House's 240 Republicans.

Whether Boehner can push the measure through remains an open question. Tea party-backed conservatives staged a virtual revolt against the bill over the past two days, complaining that it doesn't do enough to shrink the size of government and stem the tide of Washington's red ink.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 28th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Representing self, Warren Jeffs sits silent rather than present case

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs sat silent in a Texas court Thursday afternoon, declining to give an opening statement in his sexual assault trial hours after winning the right to defend himself.

Hours earlier, Jeffs delivered an impassioned 30-minute speech, saying "true justice cannot be served" if he does not act as his own attorney. Judge Barbara Walther granted the request - but did not push back the start of opening arguments from Thursday afternoon, as the defendant had hoped.

Jeffs is charged in Texas with two counts of sexual assault on a child and one count of bigamy stemming from a 2008 raid on a ranch operated by his church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is expected to be tried later on the bigamy charge.

When his sexual assault trial resumed Thursday afternoon, Walther again urged Jeffs - who was sitting between two empty chairs, with a notebook and pen in front of him - to use his defense team.

After about 30 seconds of silence, he said, "I object to proceedings continuing" and then declined to elaborate.

Prosecutors then gave their opening arguments, telling jurors that they would hear an audiotape documenting the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl. They also promised to present DNA evidence proving that Jeffs fathered a baby girl with a 14-year-old girl.

Afterward, the judge and others waited for Jeffs to give his own opening statement. Instead, for about a minute, he remained silent, with his head down, as the jurors looked back and forth between the defendant and judge.

Walther said she understood that, by Jeffs' silence, he had chosen not to give a statement. Then she gave prosecutors the go-ahead to start calling witnesses.

Jeffs' silence in the San Angelo, Texas, courtroom was a stark contrast to his comments earlier, when he argued to Walther that his attorneys "do not have the full understanding of (the) facts" and are unwilling to follow his ideas on how to present the case.

The judge gave Jeffs warnings regarding the perils of representing himself - with the defendant insisting he understood them all. One of his ex-lawyers must be available to him at all times to answer any questions Jeffs might have, Walther ruled.

The defendant said he had been trying to serve as his own attorney all along, because he felt no counsel could adequately represent him. He insisted then that his intentions were "sincere" as he sought to "present a full defense."

"My release of counsel has been with great thought," Jeffs said. "I stand before the court presenting this need for true justice to be served."

Walther ruled to allow Jeff to exercise his constitutional right and defend himself, and granted his request to have one of his former lawyers available to him at all times.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
Beat 360° 7/28/11
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), left, speaks at a news conference on the debt limit impasse as Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), center, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), right, confer at the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
July 28th, 2011
06:42 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/28/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Sam Meyer
“Ten bucks says we see tears by the end of the first question.”


“Did he just say we are drawing a tan line in the sand on this particular issue?"

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
More muddy water on cell phone use, kids' brain cancer risk
July 28th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

More muddy water on cell phone use, kids' brain cancer risk

(CNN) - A new study touts findings that kids who use cell phones are at no greater risk of brain cancer than non-users. But before you heave a sigh of relief and allow your kids unrestricted cell phone use, take a harder look at what the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, does and does not reveal.

FULL STORY on the Chart blog

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 28th, 2011
02:04 AM ET

Letters to the President: #920 'God's approval rating'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has often spoken about his faith. He has, however, never spoken about my letters. Ah well.

Dear Mr. President,

Call it intuition, call it a sixth sense, call it what you will, but I have a feeling that this debt limit deal you have been so eagerly awaiting is just around the corner. I can’t say if it will be the kind of plan you have wanted so much, but at this point anything that keeps the sky from falling is going to be greeted with some relief I suspect.

That said I want to mention something else: Did you see this poll about God’s approval rating? Apparently this survey by Public Policy Polling found that only 52 percent of the people questioned approve of the job God is doing, 40 percent aren’t sure what to think, and 9 percent disapprove.

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1
July 28th, 2011
12:16 AM ET

The RidicuList: Kat Von D

Editor's note: Anderson Cooper explains why tattoo artist and reality TV star Kat Von D has earned a spot on AC360's RidicuList.

July 28th, 2011
12:09 AM ET

Crime & Punishment: In polygamist sect does violence rule?

Editor's note: CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on allegations of lawlessness against the FLDS, the polygamist church tied to Warren Jeffs.

Related: Attorneys to argue about evidence in Warren Jeffs sexual assault trial

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Crime & Punishment
July 28th, 2011
12:00 AM ET

Video: Dem, Republican spar over debt, taxes

Editor's note: Democrat James Carville and Republican Ari Fleischer discuss the debate over debt and taxes with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Related: House vote on Republican debt plan set for Thursday

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow