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December 22, 2009

Defending McConnell: Hey, He Got a Concession Out of Reid

I don't know if I buy this or not, but here is the defense of the agreement, from a Senate GOP leadership aide.

...youre mistaken about the reasoning behind the timing of votes on Thursday.
As weve all seen, the Democrats have 60 here, unfortunately, and though we did what we could to make this drag past Christmas, the fact is that time would run out Thursday night. Whatever time we have the vote, its not going to change the fact that the bill will pass before Christmas.
...with Democrats tired of being here, the time that day was a bargaining chip. So in exchange for letting Reid move the vote up a few hours, McConnell extracted an agreement from him about the debt limit vote.
Democrats have been trying all sorts of ways to avoid voting on increasing the debt limit. They first tried to sneak it through on the Pentagon funding bill until enough people said that was unacceptable. So Republicans are going to force a vote on it and several amendments in January. When? Well... January 20th, which just happens to be the same day as Obamas State of the Union address. And Im sure you recall he wants to make the speech all about fiscal responsibility.
So in exchange for a few hours on Christmas Eve when few people are paying attention anyway to hold off an outcome Dems have already demonstrated is not in doubt, weve now got them to debate a massive debt limit increase on a day everyone will be paying attention to debt and deficits and take votes that may be quite embarrassing to the president before his big speech.

So the claim is that in exchange for a go-home-early the Republicans got a good date for the debt-limit debate and vote.

Assuming Reid honors that.

I wrote back: But if you've been blocking this debt limit vote, why is it necessary to bargain about it? The answer was, approximately: Because we can't let the country default. But nor do we have to allow the Democrats to do this as they wish, either in the dead of night or tucked into some other vote so that it doesn't get noticed.

They want to the debt limit vote to happen right when President Deficit Hawk is giving his State of the Union.

Eh... I guess. I guess.

I don't know. I am waiting to find out if Reid can just cancel this deal at will. I wrote to ask about that.


Can Reid Cancel the Deal? I am assured "no." I'm told this is a unanimous consent motion, and to undo such a motion requires, itself, unanimous consent. Since any of 40 Republicans would be expected to object and so not give unanimous consent, the idea is no, based on how it was voted in, it cannot be voted out.


More: This guy also tells me this, which makes sense:

The vote Thursday wouldn't matter as much if Dems miss because it's final passage and takes only a majority. The final cloture vote will be sometime tomorrow. If a Democrat misses that vote it'd be huge. But they only need 51 on Thursday.

This in response to my suggestion that the GOP call their bluff and make them vote on Christmas Eve. He's saying nine could decide to skip town and still leave 51 to do the deed.

Ehh... I guess.

I just am sort of having a hard time not noticing that this move is also in McConnell's personal interest.



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posted by Ace at 05:46 PM

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