Yesterday marked another low point in American congressional politics. On the heels of the embarrassment that was Republicans blocking a UN treaty that was modeled after American law and which helped disabled veterans around the world because the homeschooling association took a John Bircher type issue with it, now comes Sen. Mitch McConnell filibustering his own bill on the debt ceiling that he approached Sen. Harry Reid about from earlier in the day.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wanted to prove on Thursday that Democrats don’t have the votes to weaken Congress’ authority on the debt limit. Instead they called his bluff, and he ended up filibustering his own bill.
The legislation, modeled on a proposal McConnell offered last year as a “last-choice option” to avert a U.S. debt default, would permit the president to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling unless Congress mustered a two-thirds majority to stop him. President Obama has championed the idea.
McConnell brought up the legislation Thursday morning. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) initially objected, seemingly proving the Republican leader’s point that it cannot pass the Senate. But then Reid ran it by his members and, in the afternoon, agreed to hold that same vote. This time it was McConnell who objected.
“The Republican leader objects to his own idea,” Reid declared on the floor. “So I guess we have a filibuster of his own bill.”
McConnell claimed he never agreed to hold a simple majority vote on the bill.
“What we’re talking about here is a perpetual debt ceiling grant in effect to the president. Matters of this level of controversy always require 60 votes,” the GOP leader said.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) scoffed at that notion that a senator would ask for a vote on a bill in good faith while requiring that it be “filibuster-proof.”
“This may be a moment in Senate history, when a senator made a proposal that, when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal,” he said. “I don’t think this has ever happened before.”
McConnell came up with this idea in 2011 which was to give President Obama the power to raise the debt ceiling and force Democratic politicians to go on record and vote for it. Now that Obama won, he's lost his taste for it. But why would he then bring it up to Senator Reid at all? These people have fried green tomatoes for brains at this point. That's the best I could do. What about you?