McConnell blocks his own debt ceiling proposal

The Republican wound up filibustering a bill based on one he proposed last year

Topics: Mitch McConnell, Congress, Budget Showdown, Debt ceiling, Senate,

Today in Senate maneuvering: Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked a bill based on his own proposal, after he called for a vote on the bill in the first place so that he could prove that it would fail.

The legislation would have given President Obama the authority to raise the debt limit on his own, unless Congress could come up with a two-thirds majority to vote to stop him. The bill was based on a proposal McConnell made last year that would give the president “last-choice option” to avoid a default on the nation’s debt.

McConnell proposed a vote on the bill this morning, arguing that Democrats wouldn’t have the votes to pass it. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., at first declined, but then called McConnell’s bluff this afternoon. This time McConnell blocked the vote.

“The Republican leader objects to his own idea,” Reid said. “So I guess we have a filibuster of his own bill.”

“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,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “I don’t think this has ever happened before.”

“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,” McConnell said, the Washington Post reports.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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