Senate Dems Slam New Boehner Plan, Ask McConnell for Help

BY Quinn Bowman  July 29, 2011 at 2:15 PM EDT

Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
File photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Senate Democratic leaders angrily denounced House Speaker John Boehner’s new debt-limit bill Friday, saying it was dead on arrival in the Senate, and called on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to help them come up with a bipartisan agreement before the end of the day.

“I am going to today…ask my Republican colleagues starting with Senator McConnell some ideas as to how I could improve my legislation,” Reid said Friday.

“What is being done in the House is not a compromise…the only compromise that there is is mine,” he added.

Reid repeated his position that any short-term extension of the debt limit would not pass in the Senate, but that he was happy to look at other alternatives. Reid said that he wants to start considering his debt-limit bill Friday evening.

“I have some ideas I think that are certainly…ideas that I have gotten from Republicans,” he said. “If they don’t give me any I’ll do it on my own.”

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., reacted angrily to the news that Boehner was planning to make the passage of a balanced budget amendment in both chambers a condition for extending the debt ceiling again in a few months.

“In negotiating with the most extreme voices in his caucus, he is now moving to positions that are almost indescribable,” Durbin said.

The message was clear: the Boehner plan won’t pass in the Senate.

Friday afternoon the House began the process for considering the new Boehner plan. Meanwhile, Reid, McConnell and other leaders are undoubtedly negotiating on a way forward behind closed doors.