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.”
Yep, you got it. In his zeal to "prove" that the Democrats would hypocritically shoot down a permanent solution to the debt ceiling crisis by making the default scenario automatic raising of the ceiling dependent on a Presidential veto to stop it, ol' Mitch ended up filibustering himself in order to hypocritically shoot down his own legislation.
If that isn't a microcosm of the repeated fail of the GOP on these debt ceiling maneuvers, I don't know what is.
[UPDATE 1:58 PM] Kevin Drum asks:
This puzzled me when I first read it, but I didn't bother blogging about it. So now I will. My question is this: why did McConnell think this in the first place? I can't think of any reasons that Dems would have balked at this. They certainly don't want a debt ceiling fight while Obama is president, and they've never used the debt ceiling to hold a Republican president hostage. That's purely a GOP gambit.
Gosh I dunno Kev, maybe he thought enough "liberals" couldn't resist taking cheap shots at the President to make the plan work. Imagine that.