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If Boehner’s bill passes, what happens next?

at 12:08 PM ET, 07/28/2011


(HARRY HAMBURG/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
John Boehner’s debt-ceiling proposal is scheduled for a vote in the House this afternoon, and it looks increasingly likely that it will pass. But then what?

According to Harry Reid, that’s as far as Boehner’s bill is going to go. On Monday, he said the proposal “is not a solution, it will not pass. Every Democratic senator will vote against it.” To prove it, 53 of them signed a letter vowing to vote it down. So the question isn’t whether it will fail in the Senate. It’s how.

Reid has two options: He could “table” the proposal, postponing its consideration indefinitely, or bring it up for a vote, which would kill the bill directly. The advantage of tabling is that it’s faster. Under the byzantine rules of the Senate, the Majority Leader would have to wait about two days before being able to bring the House bill up for a vote, whereas tabling the bill could take just a day and a half. The disadvantage of tabling is that Republicans will insist that Boehner’s proposal had a chance in the Senate, and that Reid was simply afraid that it would pass. But with the Aug. 2 approaching, Democratic aides think tabling is more likely.

Once Reid kills the bill, there are two new paths he could take: He could bring his own plan up for a vote or he could try to come up with a compromise plan with Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. His plan is certain to fail in the House, so wasting time passing it through the Senate would be, well, wasting time.

 
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