The Senate will take up, and vote down, House Speaker John Boehner’s bill to raise the federal debt ceiling immediately after its anticipated House passage Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.
“As soon as the House completes its vote tonight, the Senate will move to take up that bill. It will be defeated,” Reid said, citing a letter sent last night to Boehner in which all 53 Democratic Caucus members vowed to vote against the measure if it passes. “No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now.”
Boehner was still working to round up votes Thursday. But both parties now expect his measure to narrowly pass over Democratic opposition.
Republicans argue Boehner’s bill is the only option for averting default before the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Reid intends to amend it with aspects of his own, alternative proposal and send the bill back to the House. He will need help from Senate Republicans and in particular Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to alter the bill.
McConnell touted his support for Boehner’s bill, but aides acknowledged he has been talking with Vice President Joe Biden, who is attempting to broker a compromise about the debt ceiling. McConnell’s office said the two men are not negotiating an endgame, but a Democratic aide disputed that claim.
This article appears in the July 28, 2011 edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.