Senate Democrats are preparing to start turning the procedural gears needed to bring a clean increase in the federal debt ceiling to the Senate floor.
A measure appears likely to be unveiled by midweek that would allow for increases in the debt ceiling, at least through late 2014, with the possibility of a series of votes to disapprove of the increases along the way, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.
If that plan sounds familiar, it should. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., floated a similar plan back in July 2011., in a move intended to pin the responsibility for the debt ceiling increase on President Barack Obama.
The aide said the procedural votes could start by week's end, though the exact plan remained in flux. It's not yet clear how many Republicans might agree to support the first test votes, such as one to limit debate on proceeding to the measure.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has warned of unpredictable economic consequences of not raising the limit in a timely fashion. The government is expected to run out of so-called extraordinary measures to avoid default on Oct. 17.