By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday rejected GOP calls to vote on the debt-ceiling portion of President Obama’s deficit-reduction package.
Reid initially signaled he could agree to a vote on the Obama plan to allow the administration to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. But the Democratic leader withdrew that offer after he said Republicans insisted it be subject to a 60-vote threshold.
McConnell on Wednesday began pressing for Reid to allow a Senate vote on Obama’s deficit-reduction proposal, believing it could embarrass Democrats if some voted against the president’s plan.
After Reid rejected McConnell’s suggestion, the GOP leader on Thursday called for a vote on just the debt-limit powers in Obama’s plan.
Obama’s proposal also would raise $1.6 trillion with higher taxes, find $400 billion in savings from entitlements and spend $50 billion on measures to stimulate the economy.
Republicans have said it is a one-sided offer that shows the White House isn’t serious about the talks. House Republicans this week made a counter offer that includes $800 billion in new tax revenues, but the White House rejected it, demanding higher tax rates on the wealthy.
After the floor fight, Reid accused McConnell of "filibustering his own bill," adding that he'll try again to hold an up-or-down vote on the debt-limit provision.
"The Senate should pass Sen. McConnell’s proposal to give the President the authority to avoid the knock-down, drag-out fight we had over the debt ceiling last year — a fight that caused the first-ever downgrade of this country’s credit, and cost our economy billions," Reid said in a statement later Thursday.
"Sen. McConnell’s filibuster prevented us from having this vote today, but I will continue to seek an agreement to hold an up-or-down vote on his proposal to avoid another debt ceiling debacle," Reid added.
This story was updated at 3:08 p.m.