Senate likely to accept House bill that would temporarily raise the debt ceiling

Senate Democrats are likely to accept grudgingly a House bill to raise the debt ceiling until May 19.

Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.) hinted Tuesday that the Senate would take up and pass the bill.

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“I am very glad that they are going to send us a clean debt-ceiling bill. The other stuff on it, we’ll approach that when we need to,” he said. “But I’m glad that we are not approaching a crisis here in the next few days.”

The House bill suspends the debt ceiling and contains a provision that would withhold lawmakers' pay in the House and Senate until that chamber passes a 2014 budget resolution.

The White House said formally Tuesday that it does not oppose the House bill, leaving Senate Democrats with little room to object.

Reid defined “clean” as not containing actual spending cuts.

“I am happy they sent us a debt ceiling not tied to entitlement cuts and dollar-for-dollar. So that’s a big step in the right direction,” he said.

Pressed on the "no budget, no pay" aspect of the bill, Reid referred all questions to Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Wash.). Her office did not respond to questions on Tuesday.

“The other stuff on it, Sen. Murray is going to be the spokesperson on that and we’ll see how she wants to proceed,” Reid said. He said he will be meet Tuesday night with Murray on budget process.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) on Sunday suddenly announced that the chamber for the first time in four years will vote on a Senate Democratic budget resolution. He said the budget would be used to advance tax code reform.

Other Senate Democrats also suggested Tuesday they could back the House GOP proposal.

Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate ethics panel wants details on sexual harassment allegations American innovation depends on strengthening patents Tax reform and innovation – good news and a cloud MORE (D-Del.) said he supported the bill in principle.

Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBooker tries to find the right lane  Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges MORE (D-Mont.), the Finance Committee chairman, told reporters that "three months is better than no months."

But Baucus also stopped short of saying he could back the House GOP proposal. "I didn't say that," the Montana Democrat said. "I just think three months itself, that concept, would give us a little breathing room."

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller probe cost .7M in early months | Senate confirms Homeland Security nominee | Consumer agency limits data collection | Arrest in Andromeda botnet investigation Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-Del.), also a Finance Committee member, sounded a similar note.

"Three months can be a lifetime around here, and we need to make every day of it count," Carper told The Hill. "I think it's a constructive move by the House, and I hope we act in a constructive way in response."

Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D-W.Va.) suggested that he found the House proposal more reasonable than other measures the chamber has passed in recent years.

"That wasn't the kind of the thing that you typically hear from the House, so I really perked up on that," said Rockefeller, a Finance Committee member who has announced he won't seek another term in 2014.

Rockefeller also said he had no issue with a short-term increase in the debt limit.

"That's what we do around here most of the time any way," Rockefeller said. "You've got to vote on something, right? It's better than quorum calls."

Even Senate Democrats who said they had real problems with the proposal declined to say whether they'd vote against it.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he'd prefer a permanent solution to the debt ceiling.

"The president's right that it ought to be considered separately. We ought to just extend it," Blumenthal told The Hill. "It fails to provide the certainty and predictability that our economy needs at this point," he said about the House GOP proposal.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Lobbying world MORE (D-Ore.) called the GOP proposal a positive first step, saying it was heartening to see House Republicans back away from threats of default so the Congress can address fiscal matters in "a thoughtful kind of way."

"It's a plus in the sense that there's an acknowledgement that this is a serious issue, that in and of itself is a positive," he said.

When asked if he would favor efforts to lengthen the duration of the debt-limit suspension, he said, "Of course," but added that he was not wedded to any particular length.

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report MORE (D-Md.) also called the GOP bill a positive first step but said he prefers the debt ceiling not to be tied to any other matter, including passage of the budget.

“I wish it was a longer term. I don’t know why it is connected to anything else,” he said. As to how he will vote he said, “I’d have to see how it comes over.”

Meanwhile, Republicans offered tempered enthusiasm for the House plan, with several saying they needed to learn more about the path forward under this approach.

"I have a lot of questions," said Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' MORE (R-Tenn.). "It's important to me what the details are that go with it. For instance, what's going to happen on [the continuing resolution], what's going to happen with sequestration.

"I know the House probably wants to get this vote behind them first, and then I think, obviously, I'd like for House leadership to share with us exactly what the next steps are," he added. "We know what step A is. I'd like to know what steps B, C, and D are."

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' GOP chairman warns of ISIS's ‘cyber caliphate’ Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him MORE (R-Wis.) declined to say whether he would support the House measure if it reached the Senate floor, but said he was sympathetic to House GOP efforts to find some common ground with the president on the issue.

"I certainly would have liked to have seen dollar-for-dollar deficit reduction on that, but I understand," he said. "We're facing a president that is totally unserious about reducing the debt and deficit ... so I understand the difficulty the House is facing."

Republican leaders put the onus for handling the House proposal squarely on the shoulders of Senate Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) said that House Republicans have put a plan on the table, and it was time for the Democrats running the Senate to respond in kind.

"We look forward to seeing what Senate Democrats recommend. It's time for them to function," he said.