Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will move tonight to kill House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling proposal, paving the way for Senate votes this weekend on a compromise.
Provided the House passes the measure later today, Reid said he plans to bring Boehner’s legislation immediately to the floor and “it will be defeated.”
That would allow Reid, a Nevada Democrat, to accelerate negotiations among leaders on both sides in an attempt to avoid default.
The Senate is likely to begin voting this weekend on an alternative proposal from Reid to raise the debt ceiling by the full $2.4 trillion President Barack Obama has requested, while cutting $2.2 trillion over a decade. Senate leaders are working privately to reach a compromise plan that could clear Congress by Aug. 2, the date the Treasury Department says the nation will breach its borrowing limit and run out of options for avoiding default.
All 51 Senate Democrats and two independents signed a letter yesterday pledging to oppose Boehner’s measure, which would provide an immediate $900 billion boost in the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, cut $915 billion in spending, and tie a future borrowing increase to enactment of a deficit-slashing law late this year. The White House has threatened Obama would veto it.
The legislation was gaining support among House Republicans, with a late-afternoon vote planned.
White House press secretary Jay Carney today dismissed Boehner’s proposal and said it was “dead on arrival” in the Senate, if it passed the House.
“There is no question that this bill is a political act that has no life beyond its current existence in the House,” Carney said.
Reid’s plan probably also lacks the votes necessary to advance to a final vote, Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the Budget Committee chairman, said today.
“I think it’s likely that at this moment that won’t get cloture, won’t get 60 votes,” Conrad said on Fox News.