The step was a formality but if Reid did call the bill to the floor it could serve as a backup plan that would prevent the U.S. from defaulting even if Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal that would lift the debt ceiling. 

According to the legislation's official summary, S. 1420 would "require the United States government prioritize all obligations on the debt held by the public, social security benefits, and military pay in the event of the debt limit is reached."

Reid ordered a second reading on the legislation which is a small step toward placing the bill on the Senate's calendar.

The Senate adjourned just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday and is set to return at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.