A day after the Senate summarily killed House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to prevent the nation from defaulting on its debt next Tuesday, the House returned the favor, voting down Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan by a vote of 246 for to 173 opposed.
Eleven House Democrats joined all House Republicans in giving the plan a thumbs down.
The chief complaint against the plan, as framed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was its reliance on what the majority of his Republican caucus called “widely ridiculed accounting gimmicks.” In a letter to Reid, Senate Republicans wrote:
In return for an unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, your amendment reduces spending by less than $1 trillion over the next decade. Setting aside the $200 billion shortfall between the CBO scored savings and the $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, identified by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur.
On the Senate floor on Saturday, McConnell added insult to injury by claiming that Reid’s plan is a thinly veiled effort to spare President Obama the pain of another battle over raising the debt ceiling in six months. The president’s approval ratings have taken a drubbing in recent polls, much of it arguably related to his bellicose and highly partisan mishandling of the debt debate.
In spite of—or perhaps because of—that telling political cost to the White House, McConnell also urged today that the president reengage with members of Congress on the debt ceiling negotiations.
Sen. Reid for his part continues to lay the blame at the feet of Republicans, whom he accuses of bending to the pressures of what the Senate majority leader calls “Tea Party extremists.”
The next Senate vote is scheduled for 1 a.m. Sunday.
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