Senate Democrats are likely to accept grudgingly a House bill to raise the debt ceiling until May 19.
Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) hinted Tuesday that the Senate would take up and pass the bill.
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 MurrayPatty MurrayDems, not trusting Trump, want permanent ObamaCare fix Senate confirms Labor Secretary Acosta Dems unveil bill targeting LGBT harassment on college campuses 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 SchumerAngus King: Schumer is in a 'difficult place' Schumer: NYC should refuse to pay for Trump’s security Reagan's 'voodoo economics' are precisely what America needs 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 CoonsChris CoonsCoons: Senate may have to 'support military action' A Vandenberg movement in Congress Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief MORE (D-Del.) said he supported the bill in principle.
Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusChanging of the guard at DC’s top lobby firm GOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Five reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through 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 CarperTom CarperDems blast Trump's policies at Climate March What to know about Trump's national monuments executive order Dems probe claims of religious bias in DHS 'trusted traveler' program 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 RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner 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 BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalCongress eyes airline overhaul after United incident Dem senator blasts VA for outsourcing veterans suicide line Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump MORE (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 WydenRon WydenWhat killing net neutrality means for the internet Overnight Tech: Net neutrality fight descends into trench warfare | Zuckerberg visits Ford factory | Verizon shines light on cyber espionage Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal 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 CardinBen CardinDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Sanders on skipping WH Korea briefing: 'I did not want to be part of a photo op' 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 CorkerBob CorkerState spokesman: Why nominate people for jobs that may be eliminated? The Hill's 12:30 Report Senate Foreign Relations chair: Erdogan referendum win 'not something to applaud' 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 JohnsonRon JohnsonTrump signs executive order creating new VA office Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift 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 McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again 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.