Debt ceiling: The road in the Senate
July 28th, 2011
04:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Debt ceiling: The road in the Senate

Washington (CNN) - While Sen. Harry Reid will lead the fight to table the Boehner bill Thursday night, he will not introduce his own plan immediately, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide. Instead, says this source, Democratic leaders will deliver an ultimatum: There will be a short window for all parties to "negotiate in good faith," this source says. Failing any progress within this "short" time-frame, "we will start the clock on passage of the Reid proposal."

He refused to specifically say what that window would be, but he called it "narrow"-which could mean as little as a day, given Senate rules. He says the Senate Democrats will speak about this tonight, presumably after the vote to table Boehner.

If there is no progress, he adds, "we will have an up or down vote on the Reid bill, and it will be framed as 'are you for or against default?"" Senate Democrats continue to say that, under the "appropriate circumstances" –presumably given the time pressure-that Reid's bill would be able to pass.

It's clear, this source says, that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has not been able to openly talk about a plan B since he has given his full backing to the Boehner bill. "He can't show any leg until the House passes Boehner," he says.

In response, a senior Republican leadership aide tells CNN, “This is the clearest sign yet that Democrats are nervous, and a sign that they have no bill that can pass the Senate. And they know that if the House passes a bill today, we can end the crisis tomorrow.”

While this is hardball, the Democrats also clearly believe that there is, as the source puts it, "a way to create some political space to get out of our paralyzed condition."

The Democrats demand: an enforcement mechanism for a future round of deficit reduction that "doesn't jeopardize" a debt ceiling increase through 2012 (in other words, not another protracted debate and uncertain vote). And second, a guarantee that any second round of deficit reduction would "include revenues as well as spending cuts." As you know, there is great cynicism among Democrats that any commission charged with future cuts would be able to produce a so-called "balanced" plan.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Senate
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. terrance

    America is being punked by the rubs ( republicans) party.

    July 28, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Jack Be Humble

    Excellent... Let's see components of the Boener bill integrated into the Reid bill as a real compromise, and we can put this issue to rest. Make the second vote a "vote of disapproval". Make the balanced budget vote non-binding. Everyone wins.

    July 28, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Alan

    Reid Ultimatum – If the Nevada Republicans would have even run the Vegas Gangster Mayor against Reid in the last election this country could have shed itself of this OLD GEIZER. It's sad that the only legislation Boehner has passed since taking over as Speaker of the House, all 12 bills of law against Pelosi's term over over 500, has included this OLD version of Mr. MAGOO.

    It's about time to stop threatening people Mr. Reid and think of your numbered days in the Senate because next time around, the State of Nevada will send you packing even if I and millions of other state voters need to relocate to can your sorry rear end.

    What a loser – putting his party above this Country

    July 28, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    It's time the Dems started playing hardball with the hostage-takers. hope this works. if not, i hope the president steps in and just raises the debt ceiling all on his own. he does have the authority under the constitution and he needs to be the adult in the room if the rethug children can't learn to play well with others!

    July 28, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Steve, New York City

    The far left has to realize that the populist approach will not work (especially as many Americans currently DON'T PAY ANY FEDERAL INCOME TAX).

    The far right has to explain to us, why billionaires should pay only 18% of their income in taxes (while people making just over 250K are actually over-taxed)? They should also explain why we should cut everything to the bone, but continue tax loops for big oil, continue giving Israel billions of dollars, yet forget about helping 9/11 first responders who now have cancer? I wonder how many Tea Party members have shorted the stock market.

    July 28, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    The Dems. & Obama keep looking like the Grown Ups in this thing.

    July 28, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Shorter Reid: "Here GOPers, have some more rope."

    July 28, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    Ol clueless Harry will call a vote on tableing the House bill and then present his own bill and it will fail miserably in the House. THen What? One-up-manship is no way to run the country.

    July 28, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. 2012liberal

    If boener bill passes house, senate should ammend with a provision that if this new & improved panel of 12 do not come up with a plan at end of 6 months deadbeat line. Manditory passage of gang of six plan inacted!

    July 28, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Rick

    Please send Mrs. Smith to Washingtom. She would give the 4th graders 10 minutes to organize their own kickball game and when they couldn't, she would line them up on the fence and give them 5 more minutes or they would lose their recess for the week. It worked everytime. I now know what happens to all the 4th graders who never grow up. They go into politics.

    July 28, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Harry Reid and Barack Obama have nothing to lose. They know that in 2012 they are done. Why are they intent on taking with them what financial stability the government still has after their last 2 years of their financial "fixes" ? They are obviously betting the farm again on political points, but getting none. What they are really doing is showing how low politicians can go when they care more about political games than the country or the population.

    July 28, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. Dan J

    The dems are officially the party of "no." This will be the second proposal the republicans have passed that got shot down by the democrats. More importantly, it is nearly identical to the Reid bill, except they have to duke it out before Obama's re-election. The dems are willing to sacrifice the well-being of this nation to get Obama re-elected. Looks like I'm voting republican in the next election.

    July 28, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. bill

    In other words, he doesn't have a plan.

    July 28, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |