Something hilarious happened in the Senate on Thursday.
The White House has been pushing a plan to transfer authority for the debt ceiling to the executive. They call it the McConnell plan, because it’s based on an idea Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed in July 2011.
McConnell doesn’t support the McConnell plan. And he didn’t think the Democrats did, either. So he decided to prove it. On Thursday, he asked that the Senate move to an immediate vote on the McConnell plan, figuring that Majority Leader Harry Reid would block the idea. But Reid didn’t block the idea. He doubled down on it. He asked that the Senate move to an immediate up-or-down vote on the proposal that would allow it to pass with a simple majority, rather than the three-fifths majority required to evade a filibuster.
At which point, McConnell, seemingly taken aback, filibustered. He insisted on a 60-vote threshold or nothing. So, in the space of a few minutes, McConnell had moved to vote on the plan, gotten his wish, and then launched a filibuster against the vote he’d asked for. That, ladies and gentleman, is the world’s greatest deliberative body in action.
Right now, the fiscal cliff negotiations are proceeding on two tracks.
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