With seven days to go

Yesterday brought us two competing speeches and two competing plans, but where does that leave us exactly one week before the nation loses its ability to its bills? Nowhere good.

Among Democrats, leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue seemed to accept Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plan as the least offensive of the remaining alternatives. Though President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had both committed to a compromise with at least some revenue, both threw their support to Reid’s blueprint yesterday.

On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) continues to push his alternative, even though he knows it’s likely to be rejected by the Senate and the White House. Late yesterday afternoon, however, the Speaker had another problem: the right doesn’t like his plan, either.

With few House Democrats expected to support his approach, Boehner would need the support of an overwhelming majority of his 240-member conference.

But those hopes were dampened Monday by conservative opposition to the plan, highlighted by Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), who leads a conservative caucus of more than 170 GOP members. Jordan is one of 39 House Republicans who previously took a pledge vowing to increase the debt ceiling only in return for Congress sending to the states a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

Boehner also won’t get much in the way of support from the activist base.

No sooner did House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) unveil his plan to raise the country’s debt ceiling and avoid default than a coalition of conservative groups and lawmakers panned the proposal.

The Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition is a group of more than 100 conservative groups and several dozen lawmakers in both chambers who have called for passage of a balanced budget amendment in exchange for a vote to raise the country’s debt ceiling. The group said in a statement Monday afternoon that the plan put forth by House Republican leaders “falls short of meeting (the coalition’s) principles.”

This is critically important. Boehner’s entire strategy at this point rests on his ability to pass his bill and dare the Senate and White House to reject it. But this only works if the Speaker can get enough votes from his own caucus — and of yesterday, that was far from certain.

There are 240 House Republicans, and it will take 217 votes to pass Boehner’s plan, which will likely get little or no Democratic support. Are there more than two dozen far-right GOP lawmakers who’ll balk? We’ll find it tomorrow, when the Speaker brings his measure to the floor.

The Senate leadership, meanwhile, appears likely to wait — if Boehner’s bill dies in the House, Reid’s compromise may suddenly become the only plan left standing.

And what if the House kills Boehner’s plan and rejects Reid’s plan? We’re all screwed.