Because any one Senator can hold up legislation, staging a filibuster is "one possibility" and "something that's come up in conversation and is being considered," said a GOP aide to a conservative Senator. The aide added a caveat: "Considering things are so liquid now, until there's more hard information, I don't think it's fair to speak to whatever the tactics will be." A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would not say whether the leader was explicitly discouraging Members from filibustering.
Senate Republicans caucused Monday evening to review their budget options, sources said. Earlier in the day, McConnell took to the floor to express support for the Boehner plan. But he also did not explicitly dismiss the Reid plan.
Reid will need Senate Republicans to pass his proposal, which Democrats plan to attach as an amendment to a pending, nonbinding Sense of the Senate resolution. Democrats believe the $2.7 trillion plan should pass muster with Boehner, whose two major demands were that any lifting of the debt ceiling be matched dollar for dollar with spending cuts and that it not touch revenues. Both the Reid and Boehner plans include an outline for a joint committee to find further deficit savings in the future.
When asked whether he believed he would have the votes to send his plan to the House, Reid said: "I would hope so. I'm giving them what they want."
A Republican Senate aide indicated that even though there were two separate legislative tracks for a debt limit solution, ultimately, the path to averting default would start in the House and end in the Senate.
"The Reid approach cannot probably pass the House; therefore, it's a nonstarter," the aide said.
But for many conservatives and tea party loyalists on both sides of the Capitol, neither proposal hit the mark in reducing the deficit.
"The proposed deals being discussed today by House Republican and Senate Democrat Leaders do not make cuts to our debt. They do not solve our debt problems. They do not balance the budget, ever," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.