Friday, July 29, 2011

What happens next on the debt ceiling debate? The scenario now.

Word out of Washington is that Speaker Boehner is tweaking his plan to require that both houses of Congress pass and send to the states a Balanced Budget Amendment before any second debt increase could be considered.  That may be enough to allow Boehner to pass his plan in the House with only Republican votes.  If Boehner can't get a Republican bill passed sometime today, the Senate will move on its own to pass Reid’s debt increase plan beginning midnight tonight [Friday, 7-29-11].  The timing will be tight.

Reid has given the House Republicans until midnight tonight (Friday) to pass some kind of debt ceiling/deficit reduction plan and send it to the Senate.  If they do, Reid would hold a quick vote to table (kill) the House bill and then use it as a privileged vehicle to avoid a first test vote on the motion to proceed with his own bill. That would take 30 hours off the clock outlined below.

Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo has posted a scenario of what might happen next in the debt ceiling crisis.

His explanations are in italics.

Midnight Friday: Reid files for cloture (to end debate/filibuster) on his plan
Whether or not Republicans ask Reid to tweak his bill or not, he will file cloture on his plan (or perhaps a slightly amended version) by midnight tonight.

Sunday morning 1:00 AM:  First Cloture vote Reid plan—60 votes needed to proceed.
Senate rules require Reid to allow one full day, and one hour, before he can hold the first test vote on the plan -- a cloture vote on the motion to proceed. He would thus call the Senate into session at 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning, and hold the vote at 1 a.m. [Note: This step would not be necessary if the House sends a bill to the Senate by midnight Friday so Reid would be able to move to the Monday vote, described below, 30 hours earlier.]

Monday morning 7:00 AM: Vote to end debate—60 votes needed.
If [Reid] gets 60 votes [to proceed], he has to wait 30 hours before he can hold the next test vote -- to end debate on the bill. That 60-threshold vote would happen at about 7 a.m. Monday.

Tuesday Afternoon 1:00PM: Vote on Reid plan—51 votes needed.
[If Reid gets 60 votes to end debate], he has to wait another 30 hours, before finally passing his bill in an up-or-down vote Tuesday at about 1 p.m.

Tuesday afternoon:  Senate bill sent to House.
Then it would be in the House's hands, where the question is: Can the extremely weakened Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) muster enough GOP votes for Reid's plan to pass it on a bipartisan basis?

Wednesday Midnight:  Treasury runs out of money.
[The House would] have until just after midnight on Wednesday, when Treasury believes they'll run out of borrowing authority.

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