Shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, the Senate voted down Majority Leader Harry Reid’s debt limit bill.
That plan has been outmoded by a new one, hammered out by the White House and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that’s still being finalized. When it’s completed, it will be attached as an amendment to Reid’s bill (Reid will be able to recall that legislation by voting to filibuster his own plan, knowing it’s doomed anyhow).
As noted here, the McConnell/Obama plan is likely to contain an enforcement mechanism comprised entirely of spending cuts — both to domestic and defense programs — that will kick in if a bipartisan fiscal committee doesn’t report a package of entitlement and tax reforms later this year.It remains to be seen whether Reid gives the final plan his blessing. But even if he doesn’t, according to a top Democratic aide, he will likely work with McConnell to move it through Senate, with McConnell taking ownership of it.
Both Democratic and Republican aides are hoping the bipartisan nature of the plan means they can get unanimous consent to expedite the legislation — to not have to run down a 30 hour clock after the filibuster is broken, as is often the case.
Assuming it can pass in the Senate, though, its prospects are wholly unclear in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has been having a brutally difficult time whipping votes for any debt limit bill, and where progressives will be reluctant to support any plan that virtually assures future entitlement cuts, but contains no guarantees of tax increases on wealthy Americans.