House GOP leaders Saturday will bring an old version of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s debt limit bill to the floor for what appears to be a bit of weekend political theater.
The Nevada Democrat’s original bill has never had any realistic chance of passing the House, and he tweaked it after a Congressional Budget Office review found it did not cut the deficit as much as advertised. But the House vote would be strictly a political maneuver, aimed at demonstrating a lack of support in the House for the proposal as the two chambers struggle to find common ground on an agreement to increase the debt limit.
It would not be the first time Republicans have taken ceremonial votes on Democratic bills in order to make a political point. Earlier this year they brought a clean debt limit bill — favored by liberal Democrats — to the floor in order to defeat it by a wide margin.
Similarly, Reid brought up the House Republicans’ controversial Cut, Cap and Balance legislation last week in order to soundly defeat it and show that it had no bipartisan support in the Senate. Reid has also offered to bring up a constitutional amendment to balance the budget in order to prove it does not have the votes to pass in the Senate.
The deficit reduction bill passed by the House Friday night would condition a future debt limit increase on passage through both chambers of the balanced budget amendment.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.