Senate GOP takes backseat on debt talks, fueling anxiety
…James Wallner, a Senate rules expert and former Senate GOP aide who once worked for Lee, noted that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) could speed up consideration of the bill by calling senators to the floor to vote at 1 a.m., cutting down the time between when he files a cloture motion to end debate and the vote on the motion.
“There are two options here. One is to try to pull out all the stops and to try to undermine the bill and defeat it, drag it out. That’s one thing. The other thing is to have an amendment strategy and try to amend the bill,” he said, noting that the likely success of either strategy would depend on “how many conservatives in the House support the bill.”
But Lee would need to reach out to liberal Senate Democrats to build up enough support to block a debt limit bill from proceeding through the Senate without amendments. This scenario is viewed as highly unlikely, since the deadline for avoiding default is June 5.
Changing details of the deal in the Senate and sending it back to the House could cause a substantial delay.
“If a big chunk of the Freedom Caucus supports the deal, it makes it that much harder for conservatives in the Senate,” said Wallner, who pointed out that Senate passage would then be “the last thing that has to happen.”
“If it’s already gone that far, it’s going to mitigate a lot of [Senate] members who might otherwise be opposed,” he said.