McConnell Debt Ceiling Bluff Ends Badly

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to out-maneuver the Democrats ended poorly for him, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called his bluff, forcing McConnell to filibuster his own bill.

How did this happen? McConnell, in an attempt to prove that the Democrats didn’t really want to end the fight over the debt ceiling that first began in 2011, asked for a vote on a bill that would give the president the ability to raise the debt ceiling. McConnell bet that Democrats wouldn’t be able to muster a regular majority to pass the bill.

After consulting with his caucus, Reid found support for the bill, brought it to the floor, and scheduled 20 minutes of debate before an up or down vote.  With his bluff now called, McConnell tried to convince Reid that “[m]atters of this level of controversy always require 60 votes.” Reid wasn’t buying it, and said “The republican leader objects to his own idea. We have a filibuster of his own bill.”

The Senate’s Majority Whip, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin added “It really calls into question whether or not this was the kind of offer that would be considered to be good faith.” He also asked the Senate’s parliamentarian to check and see if a Senator had ever filibuster his or her own bill before.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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