By Alexander Bolton - 07/29/11 02:20 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would go ahead and move to end debate on legislation to raise the debt limit, describing it as “the last train.”
Reid implored Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to join him in negotiating a bipartisan agreement that could pass the Senate with 60 votes.
“Too much is at stake to waste even one more minute,” Reid said. “The last train is leaving the station. This is our last chance to avert a default. The vote on this compromise will determine whether we enter the frightening world of default.”
McConnell took to the Senate floor shortly after Reid to propose a six-month extension of the debt-limit, which Reid immediately rejected.
“We cannot have in this country a six-month extension, because a six-month extension — because a six-month extension is no extension,” Reid said. “A six-month extension of what we’re dealing with put us back in a matter of weeks into the same, as I said, fiscal extravaganza, trying to move forward with the work of the country.”
Democratic aides say McConnell has a short window in which to reach out to Reid to make changes to the Senate Democratic plan to raise the debt limit. But McConnell has not been willing to do much in the way of negotiating while the House still has a chance of passing its own plan to raise the borrowing limit.
House action, however, has been delayed by a revolt by freshman conservatives, who have refused to endorse a debt-limit proposal by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“Under the rules we have here in the Senate, if I move tonight, we can’t have a final vote until Tuesday morning,” he said. “The country defaults on its debt at 12 midnight on Tuesday."
Reid extended another invitation to McConnell on Friday morning.
“I hope my friend, Sen. McConnell, will come to me by the end of the day and indicate what constructive ideas he has to move the process along,” Reid said.
McConnell, speaking on the floor Friday morning, criticized Reid for rounding up Democratic votes to oppose Boehner’s debt plan.
“The Democratic majority here in the Senate has been wasting precious time rounding up 'no' votes to keep this crisis alive,” McConnell said. “Rather than being responsible and doing their duty and come up with a bill that can actually pass, they have been busy signing people up for the not-good-enough caucus and ginning up opposition to everything else."
Senate Democrats have scheduled a special caucus meeting Friday morning to discuss their next steps.
Watch Reid below.