Senate defeats Reid bill, preps for larger deal

It became pretty clear yesterday that congressional Republicans considered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D) generous offer not quite generous enough. The House GOP was in a spiteful mood, while nearly all of the Senate GOP continued to demand more, holding out for a better deal.

As talks continued throughout the afternoon yesterday, and participants moved closer to an agreement, Reid’s alternative solution to this fiasco was quickly pushed aside. It would be a formality when the Majority Leader’s proposal was brought to the floor — there would be a filibuster, and Democrats wouldn’t be able to break it.

That’s exactly what transpired about an hour ago.

The Senate voted Sunday not to move forward with a Democratic debt plan as Congress prepared to take up a bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling as soon as it is reached this weekend.

The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 50 to 49 in favor of ending debate on the measure, but failed to get the necessary 60 votes required to move to a final vote.

This vote was, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. The only proposal that matters right now — and in all likelihood, the only proposal that could prevent Tuesday’s catastrophe — is the agreement being reached with the White House, which isn’t quite done.

In case anyone’s curious, if I saw the roll call correctly, Sen. Scott Brown was the only Republican to break ranks and vote for Reid’s plan, while four members of the Democratic caucus voted against it: Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson (because it wasn’t quite conservative enough for them), Bernie Sanders (because it was far too conservative), and Harry Reid himself, who obviously supported his own compromise, but had to vote against it for procedural reasons.

The next step, of course, is waiting for the larger deal, which by all accounts, will be absolutely awful. Whether it’s awful enough to put Democratic votes in doubt, and put the entire agreement in jeopardy, remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely given the ticking clock.

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