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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would move forward on its own plan to raise the debt limit by the end of Friday in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner's failure to pass his own plan Thursday night. Reid insists they have only "hours" to act, because Senate rules mean it will take three days to pass a bill before the Treasury Department's August 2 deadline, The Washington Post's Felicia Somnez reports. In a press conference Friday, President Obama urged the Senate to come to some kind of agreement as the House insists on spending time on a bill that has little chance of passing.
Reid's plan, unlike Boehner's, raises the debt limit enough to last past the 2012 elections, and cuts more spending--though $1 trillion of the savings
are from drawing down troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were going to happen anyway. "I know the Senate compromise bill Democrats have offered is not perfect in Republican eyes. Nor is it perfect for Democrats," Reid said. "But together, we must make it work for all of us. It is the only option." Which sounds comfortingly reasonable and bipartisan. But of course, Boehner used nearly identical language to sell his bill--"I've never said it was perfect
. Nobody in my caucus believes it's perfect, but what this bill reflects is a sincere, honest effort to end this crisis in a bipartisan way, to send it to the Senate where it can receive action"--and Reid vowed it would be DOA in the Senate
even before conservative Republicans in the House refused to support Boehner's plan.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has been waiting for Boehner's plan
to run its course in the House before working on a compromise with Reid, but Associated Press' Andrew Taylor
reports he might be giving up on the House:
[McConnell] says Democrats controlling the chamber need to offer a new solution to the debt crisis instead of focusing on killing a plan that House Republicans are struggling to pass.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Democratic leader Harry Reid is blowing the chances for the House measure - and McConnell says it largely follows parameters Reid negotiated this past weekend.
NBC News' First Read
says that Democrats have more leverage because House Republicans weren't trying to win over a handful of conservatives, but dozens. "There just aren’t enough House GOP votes--by themselves--to raise the debt ceiling. The eventual compromise bill is going to take 105 to 110 House Republican votes, as well as 105 to 110 House Democratic votes." Whatever happens, this promises to be a long weekend. Agence France Presse's Olivier Knox
tweets, "Hokay. Looks like US Senate votes at 1 am Sun, 7:30 am Mon, final #debt vote Tues, per a Dem aide."
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is the former politics editor for The Wire