Politics

Senate kills Boehner debt ceiling plan

Paul Conner Executive Editor

The U.S. Senate has voted down a House-approved bill to raise the debt ceiling, leaving the ball in the court of Senate leadership to produce a deficit reduction bill, with just days left before the Aug. 2 deadline. The vote was 59–41.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid followed through on his promise to kill the bill, pushed through the House a day late by House Speaker John Boehner. The White House, which has thrown its weight behind a Reid proposal, had promised a veto had it miraculously passed the Senate.

The Senate also killed the Cut, Cap, Balance Act last Friday and has yet to vote on a formal proposal. Having passed two proposals and with little time to attempt another bill, the House now waits to act on a Senate bill.

“I stuck my neck out a mile to get an agreement with the president of the United States,” Boehner thundered from the floor after the vote. “It’s time for the administration and time for our colleagues across the aisle to put something on the table. Tell us where you are!”

Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announced via Twitter that the House will vote on Reid’s plan Saturday to show that it is “not capable of passing.” First votes are expected to begin at 1:00 p.m.

Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell debated on the Senate floor over when the body should vote on the Reid plan, with McConnell saying that his Republican colleagues were ready to vote Friday night. Reid demurred, meaning that the House may vote on Reid’s Budget Control Act before the Senate, an irony McConnell readily pointed out.

“This is almost an out-of-body experience,” McConnell said. “I’m perplexed that my friend does not want to vote on his proposal tonight.”

At a press conference later in the evening, Reid accused McConnell of refusing to negotiate with Democrats and of allowing a filibuster, which could push the vote back until early Sunday morning.

“The door was open all day. Nobody knocked, nobody walked in,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, said at the press conference. “We will not solve this problem by standing there and folding our arms and saying ‘I am not talking to anybody.'”