Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, facing a conservative revolt, abandoned a vote Thursday night on a bill to increase the government's debt limit, cut federal spending and avoid a potential United States default.
Republican leaders in the lower chamber 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 US 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.
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders had labored furiously to line up the 216 votes the debt bill would need to pass the House. Enough conservative Republicans, initially opposed to the Boehner bill, had been thought to have agreed to back the measure earlier Thursday.
After hours of routine debate, the Republican leadership sent word that further work would be put off on the bill to raise the nation's debt limit by Tuesday to allow the government to keep borrowing and pay its bills.
Few if any Democrats had been expected to support the measure, which faces near-certain defeat in the Democratic-run Senate. President Barack Obama vowed to veto the measure should it reach his desk because it would bring the controversial debt issue up again in the middle of next year's election season.