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Updated: 8:13 p.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday afternoon announced that the Senate would vote Friday on the House-passed Cut, Cap and Balance legislation that Republicans have tried to tie to a debt ceiling increase.
The Nevada Democrat will attempt to use a procedural motion, known as tabling, to deep-six the bill’s chances of coming before the chamber. The motion to table requires 51 votes to pass, and the 53-member Democratic caucus could kill the CCB bill if it sticks together. Cut, Cap and Balance is overwhelmingly supported by Republicans, who control the House, but it has minimal support among Democrats. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill even it were able to clear the Democratic Senate. That disagreement has left the legislation as an unlikely vehicle to solve the partisan impasse on the debt ceiling issue.
“I think this piece of legislation is about as weak and senseless as anything that has ever come on this Senate floor, and I’m not going to waste the Senate’s time day after day on this piece of legislation, which I think is anathema to what our country is all about,” Reid said in remarks on the Senate floor. “Everyone understand, we’re going to have a vote tomorrow. I’m not going to wait until Saturday. We’re going to have a vote tomorrow. I feel confident that this legislation will be disposed of one way or the other. The American people should understand that this is a bad piece of legislation, perhaps some of the worst legislation in the history of this country.”
The Senate was previously scheduled to vote Saturday on a key procedural motion that could have paved the way for a full debate on the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, but that motion was not expected to garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome an expected Democratic filibuster. But Reid, citing the looming Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, said he did not want to waste an extra legislation day debating a bill that would not pass the Senate. The Senate is now expected to vote as early as 10 a.m. Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office confirmed that it was not party to the decision to change the vote on Cut, Cap and Balance.
The House approved the legislation Tuesday and sent it to the Senate that night.
The Senate is still expected to be in session this weekend, but it was not immediately clear on what it would be debating or voting.