Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) thought he would pull on a fast one Thursday on the United States Senate floor on his friend, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV). He proposed a plan to solve the debt ceiling problem. This idea came to McConnell in 2011 during the debt talk crisis and is known as the McConnell provision.
What this plan accomplishes is it cedes control of the debt ceiling from the legislative branch to the executive. Which is not something wanted by either side of the legislative aisle.
On Wednesday, President Obama asked the Treasury department to ask Congress to cede its power over the debt ceiling to him. This is how it would work according to the Christian Science Monitor: The president would ask to raise the debt limit and Congress would have 15 days to pass a joint resolution of disapproval. The president could then veto their disapproval and require Congress to override his veto with 60 percent majorities in both bodies.
This proposal by Treasury is the essence of the McConnell provision. President Obama said on Wednesday that the debt ceiling “it is not a game that I will play.” Senator Mitch McConnell did not get the memo. President Obama said that “If Congress in any way suggests that they’re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation — which, by the way, we had never done in our history until we did it last year — I will not play that game.”
Critics say that the filibuster is being used excessively by the Republicans in the United States Senate. The charge by Democrats is that the filibuster is overused. In fairness, when the Democrats were in the minority, the Democrats also made liberal use of the rule too, but not as extensively as the Republicans who have forced nearly every Democratic proposed bill to a “cloture vote,” requiring 60 votes to bring a bill to a vote.
On Thursday, out of the blue, McConnell proposed the McConnell provision on the floor of the Senate, an obvious attempt to embarrass Democrats. But Senate Majority leader Harry Reid shocked McConnell, the Republicans and possibly members of his own party and called for a vote on the McConnell provision.
To which McConnell responded with the words, “I object.” Filibustering his own suggestion for a vote. With this action, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took the United States Senate filibuster to a new level on the United States Senate floor on Thursday.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA Nation Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books