Forty-three GOP senators on Saturday signed a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expressing opposition to his debt-ceiling legislation currently being considered in the upper chamber.
Their unified opposition to the bill leaves Democrats at least three votes short of the 60 needed to a clear cloture and virtually assures its defeat when it comes up for a vote tonight or tomorrow morning.
Only moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Scott Brown (Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) did not sign on to the letter.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the floor moments after the letter was delivered to assure Reid, who was also on the floor, that the proposal had no chance of clearing the chamber.
"It’s not going anywhere," said McConnell. "It will not pass the Senate. It will not pass House."
McConnell also accused Reid of "delaying the inevitable" defeat of the bill and called for an immediate vote. The first procedural vote is currently expected at around 1 a.m. on Sunday.
Reid responded to the news of the letter, which he apparently received while he was on the floor, by asking McConnell what Republicans would agree to since they oppose his plan.
"What will they vote for?" asked Reid. "Do they have any ideas? Let me know.”
The Reid plan would have President Obama request a $2.4 trillion debt-limit increase in two installments of $1.2 trillion each. The requests would be subject to congressional resolutions of disapproval.