Saturday afternoon, Kentucky’s junior senator, Rand Paul (R., Ky.) attempted to offer a simple amendment to Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid’s debt ceiling plan: to add a condition that it not be raised until passage of a real Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. He characterized this offer as more proof that the Tea Party Republicans are not the ones holding up compromise in Washington this weekend.
Of course, Sen. Paul’s amendment was objected to by Senate Democrats, proving in his estimation, “…their lack of seriousness about dealing with our debt problem.”
“I remain willing to negotiate with Senator Reid and the President,” Sen. Paul said. “I am willing to give the President what he wants: a debt ceiling increase through the election so he can be free to run for office without being inconvenienced. I am willing to use the short-term deficit cutting numbers that Senator Reid has proposed in his plan, with one addition: a long-term solution to our debt problem.
“Senate Democrats are now holding up compromise on the debt ceiling not over how much to raise it, and not over what or where to cut. They are holding up the debt ceiling simply because they will not agree to a Balanced Budget Amendment.”
And, in a bizarre turn of events, since late last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has been forcing a filibuster on his own bill. Senate Republicans are calling for the traditional 60-vote threshold for a debt-limit bill to pass the chamber, but it's actually Democrats who are enforcing the filibuster on their own legislation.
Republicans offered to let the vote happen Friday night, just minutes after the chamber voted to table the bill from House Republican leader Boehner. Everyone expects the Democrats’ bill to fail also, but the GOP position was that the senators might as well kill both at the same time so that negotiations could move on to a compromise. "We would be happy to have that vote tonight," Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republicans' leader, offered.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid objected, even though the vote would occur on his own bill. Instead, he will force the Senate to run out the full procedural clock, postponing a vote until the early hours Sunday morning.
Sen. Paul offered the following statement in response to this tactic:
“It seems odd that the Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid would decide to filibuster his own legislation. In fact, the Senate Republican Leader offered to move the vote on this legislation up, but Democrats objected. My Senate Republican colleagues and I are here waiting in the Senate for a vote on the debt limit bill but Sen. Reid would rather delay a vote until 1:00 Sunday morning, running down the clock instead of providing real solutions and real leadership on this issue.
“I remain committed to solving this debt crisis and again offer a compromise. I am willing to give the President what he wants – to raise the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion. But there must be a long-term fix to our debt problem in the form of a Balanced Budget Amendment.”
Sen. Rand Paul on Fox News America News HQ - 07/30/11