As promised, all Senate Democrats aligned Friday night to kill the just-passed House Republican bill to raise the debt limit.
The roll call fell closely along party lines, 59-41, with all Democrats voting to table Speaker John Boehner’s controversial bill, joined by several Republicans who also oppose that plan.
Now we enter a period of calm. Before midnight, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to introduce his own debt limit bill — amended to include more spending cuts, and a few as-yet undisclosed carrots, to entice enough Republicans to overcome a filibuster and pass the legislation.
Senate Democratic aides confirm that the legislation is being updated now, after consultation with Republicans, but the precise details are tightly held.
They need to get those details right. House Republicans have scheduled a symbolic Saturday vote to knock down the original version of Reid’s bill — a move meant to illustrate that without further cuts and enticements Reid’s bill can’t pass the House.
Once the tweaks are completed, and the bill is introduced, Reid will set the wheels in motion to pass it. If all goes as currently planned, he’ll file cloture on the plan tonight. Because it will be attached to a privileged vehicle — the stripped bare shell of Boehner’s plan — it will tee-up a 1 a.m. Sunday vote to end an expected filibuster. If there are 60 votes — and that’s the crucial if — that will lock in a vote on final passage after 7 a.m. on Monday. Then it’s back to the House, with fingers crossed.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.