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Senate to Vote on House Debt Bill Thursday Night

Tom Williams/Roll Call

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that he would move to bring up Speaker John Boehner’s short-term plan to raise the debt ceiling Thursday evening in order to quickly defeat it.

“As soon as the House completes its vote tonight, the Senate will move to take up that bill,” the Nevada Democrat announced on the Senate floor. “It will be defeated. No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged Republicans to sit down and compromise on a long-term debt ceiling increase that can pass both chambers, instead of any short-term extension that keeps default on the table.

“The idea that we will take Boehner’s bill and pass it, or take Boehner’s bill and tweak it and pass it, is not what is going to happen,” Schumer said.

Reid’s move was an acknowledgment that Boehner’s plan is likely to pass Thursday night. Just days ago, a conservative revolt threatened to take down Boehner’s plan to raise the debt limit in two stages, but momentum began to swing the other way Wednesday as House GOP leaders ramped up their whip operation.

Reid has his own plan to raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. President Barack Obama has said he will not sign a bill that fails to accomplish that goal. Republicans have accused him of trying to get the issue off his plate as he ramps up his re-election campaign, but the White House has said a longer-term increase is needed to bring stability and certainty to financial markets as well as to avoid another potential partisan brawl over the debt ceiling in just a few short months.

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