Plenty of ‘pathetic’ to go around

The House will soon take up a version of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D) overly-generous compromise, only to defeat it before the Senate is even done shaping it. The House will consider it on the suspension calendar, which means it would need a two-thirds majority to pass, which is of course impossible.

Or put another way, Speaker Boehner’s plan wouldn’t come close to passage under these conditions, either.

The House GOP, in other words, is playing yet another game 81 hours before the United States can no longer pay its bills. Republican Sen. Scott Brown said, “What’s happening in the House is kind of pathetic,” and for a change, I agree with him.

Of course, what’s happening with Senate Republicans is nearly as pathetic.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a letter Saturday afternoon to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), signed by 43 Republicans, declaring that Reid’s debt-limit legislation was unacceptable.

Needing 60 votes to clear a filibuster hurdle, Reid’s current draft is assured of failure in a 1 a.m. vote Sunday. McConnell demanded that President Obama re-engage in negotiations. “It isn’t going to pass,” McConnell said Saturday in a floor speech. “Let’s get talking to the administration.”

It’s worth noting for context that 43 senators is nearly all of the caucus, but not quite. Four Republican members — Brown, Collins, Murkowski, and Snowe — did not sign the letter, and would presumably be willing to back Reid’s massive spending-cut plan.

McConnell’s letter, after raising some irrelevant arguments, said Reid’s measure lacks a mechanism to “ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.” What McConnell’s letter neglected to mention is that McConnell’s own compromise measure, endorsed and touted by the Minority Leader himself two weeks ago, also lacked a mechanism to “ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.”

Why was this fine for McConnell’s plan but a deal-breaker for Reid’s plan? The GOP leader didn’t say.

To make a long story short, the process actually looks worse than it did this morning, and Republicans, as hard as this may be to believe, are actually becoming more irresponsible.

I mentioned this morning that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. As of this afternoon, it’s looking more and more like a train.