As promised, the Democrat-controlled Senate has voted to table -- kill, for all intents and purposes -- Boehner's plan, which had just cleared the House. Thus, for the third time in four months, Senate Democrats have said "no" to a proactive House-passed Republican solution to stave off a debt crisis. Tonight's final tally was 59-41.
As you can tell from the vote total, a handful of Senate Republicans, who had publicly opposed Boehner's plan -- and who were fully aware that Democrats had the votes to sink the bill -- also voted no. The six names I heard were DeMint, Lee, Graham, Vitter, Hatch, and Paul. Their opposition was based on the concern that the bill does not go far enough to address the underlying debt issue. As was the case in the House, zero Senate Democrats voted for the Boehner plan. Party of ideas!
In a delicious twist, Harry Reid is now refusing to expedite a vote on his own bill. Mitch McConnell has twice offered to allow an immediate vote on Reid's bill, and Reid is refusing because he doesn't have the votes to proceed. Reid is demanding an up-or-down vote on his bill, not a cloture vote, which is common practice in the Senate. McConnell keeps pointing out how ironic it is that Reid is blocking an immediate vote on his own plan, then turning around and accusing the GOP of filibustering. How can Republicans be "filibustering" a bill for which they are actively seeking a vote? Reid then calls Republicans uncompromising obstructionists, rattling off a laundry list of bipartisan negotiations Republicans have supposedly undermined. He curiously omits the three GOP plans his party own has defeated, as well as the bipartisan framework he himself agreed to last weekend before President Obama nixed it. Selective memories are a common Democratic trait. Speaking of which, Reid is also pretending that the demand for a 60 vote threshold to proceed is a tactic invented by Republicans. This doesn't even pass the laugh test. Just ask Miguel Estrada.
Up next: The House will take up Reid's un-passed bill tomorrow, and defeat it -- just to prove it cannot pass as written. The Senate will then probably (finally) vote on the cloture motion on Reid's bill late tomorrow night. Unless its language is altered (which I'm told would require unanimous consent), Republicans will likely block its advancement.
Then it's back to the negotiating table to craft a compromise bill that uses the Boehner and Reid plans as starting points. Those discussions may already be underway. As I hypothesized earlier, the product of those discussions will likely be an improved, but still flawed, Reid bill -- which will overcome bipartisan opposition and pass both houses.
Let's do this all again tomorrow, shall we?
UPDATE - Here's video of Harry Reid objecting to an immediate cloture vote on his own legislation -- the first Democratic plan on the table in this entire process:
UPDATE II: Senate Democratic leadership (Reid, Durbin, Schumer) just held a press conference where the BS was piling up so fast and thick that I lost track of statements to refute. I'm done for the night. Anyone have a beer?
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