GOP's Sessions tries to slow consideration of debt-ceiling bill in Senate

Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Monday introduced legislation that, if approved, would make it harder for the Senate to consider any bill to raise the debt ceiling until it has been made publicly available for seven days.

While his bill is unlikely to be approved, it does signal that Senate Republicans want to ensure that a final agreement is not sprung on members at the last minute. Senate Republicans have complained in recent weeks that they do not have a good sense of how the talks are going, and are worried that they might not be able to support an agreement that raises taxes.

Sessions said earlier this month that he fears President Obama will seek a last-minute deal and then try to win quick approval by Congress.

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Obama "continues to rely on secret meetings, and it's clear that the White House expects to thrust a last-minute deal on Congress under the threat of panic," Sessions said July 1. "They assume lawmakers will support such a deal with no time to review it, no time to amend or revise it, no time for the public to weigh in, and no time for national opinion to form as meaningful discussion and analysis unfold."

"We shouldn't 'have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,' " he added, referencing a comment House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.) made about last year's controversial healthcare bill.

Sessions's request for a seven-day layover may prove unrealistic, as there are now just three weeks left before the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department for reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling. After that date, Treasury has warned that the U.S. is at risk of default on its debt and/or being forced to significantly cut back spending.

His bill, S. 1341, would allow for a point of order to be raised against consideration of any bill to increase the debt ceiling "unless that measure has been publicly available for a full seven calendar days before consideration on the floor of the Senate."

Aside from Sessions, the bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and David Vitter (R-La.).

-- This story was updated at 7:52 p.m. to add co-sponsors.