For several days, the political world’s attention has been focused on the House, where the Republican majority has struggled badly to do much of anything except waste valuable time.
And what of the Senate? The first order of business will, apparently, be the defeat of Speaker Boehner’s (R) latest proposal. The outcome is not in doubt, though the schedule is still unclear. If the House moves this afternoon — it will reconvene any minute now — the Senate should kill the Boehner bill by dinner time.
And then it’s Harry Reid’s turn.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would go ahead and move to end debate on legislation to raise the debt limit, describing it as “the last train.”
Reid implored Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to join him in negotiating a bipartisan agreement that could pass the Senate with 60 votes.
Reid said if the Senate begins Friday to move legislation to raise the debt limit, it would take four days to pass it through the upper chamber. That means the Democratic plan to raise the debt limit would pass no sooner than Aug. 2 — the deadline set by the Treasury Department for avoiding default
McConnell, perhaps not paying close enough attention, this morning pushed for a six-month extension, so the nation could go through all of this again. Reid, naturally, declined.
The Majority Leader did, however, once again urge McConnell to reengage in talks — Reid would gladly make some additional changes to his extremely generous offer to pick up some additional GOP support. Indeed, it’s probably going to be mandatory — all signs suggest Senate Republicans will filibuster the Democratic compromise, which in and of itself, is rather insane.
For his part, McConnell has suggested he’s unwilling to talk until after the fate of the Boehner bill is resolved.
Regardless, given the Senate’s procedural hurdles, we’re looking at a schedule that will be cutting things way too close. Reid’s bill may not be able to reach the floor until Aug. 2, and if that date seems familiar, it’s because it’s the default deadline. If things go very smoothly, Dems might be able to get a vote the morning of Aug. 1, though Senate Republicans are unlikely to help make that happen.