Saturday Session in the Senate: A Vote on Cut, Cap & Balance Act

By Eliza

Jul 20, 2011 6:27pm

gty harry reid senate sc 110718 wb Saturday Session in the Senate: A Vote on Cut, Cap & Balance Act

ABC News' Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) reports:

The Senate will hold a cloture vote on the motion to proceed this Saturday on the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act which the House of Representatives passed last night.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., announced on the Senate floor this evening that the vote will occur on Saturday morning, but that he still “hopes” that a deal could be worked out to vote sooner.  

No dice.

Senate Minority Leader McConnell, R-KY., took to the floor immediately after and said that he welcomes a debate over Cut, Cap and Balance and that he is looking forward to a Saturday vote.

The plan has no hopes of passing in the democratically controlled Senate.  Democrats skewered the plan today on Capitol Hill, calling it “political theater,” a “waste of time,” a “show vote” and announced it dead on arrival after the House sent it over this week.

“What a sham! What a scam!” Senator Mikulski, D-MD.,  said today, “I'd be tempted to just blow it off if it were not so cruel, stupid and dangerous.  It's cruel because it invents new rules of how we're going to calculate Social Security, what we're going to do to Medicare. It's stupid because it doesn't solve our problems. And it's dangerous because it could bring our economy down. It does cut, cap and kill Medicare, but it could very well kill the future of our country.”

Democrats have argued that voting on something that everyone knows won’t pass in the Senate, and the president has said he will veto if it reaches his desk is a waste of time as the clock ticks closer to August 2nd to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling.

“It's time for Republicans in the House and the Senate to end the political shenanigans; to drop their DOA plan to cap, cut and kill Medicare and to begin working with Democrats to solve our fiscal crisis,” Senator Schumer, D-NY., said today,  “The clock is ticking. All eyes are on us. We need to act responsibly.”

Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa called the plan extreme, and had a little fun with the Republicans’ title of their plan.

“The cut isn't just a nick; the cut is more like an amputation: cutting the legs out from underneath the federal government,” Harkin said, “And the cap, is it just a small cap? I prefer to call it a decapitation: taking the head off the federal government's resources and the power to respond to the needs of our country.”

The House of Representatives passed Cut Cap and Balance act Tuesday night by a vote of 234-190 in a vote divided largely down partisan lines.  House Democrats were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the bill, although Reps. Dan Boren, Jim Cooper, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre and Heath Shuler all joined the Republicans in supporting the measure.

The plan would cut total spending by $111 billion in FY 2012. The legislation would also cap total federal spending by creating a “glide path” that caps spending at 22.5 percent of GDP next year, and gradually decreases spending  levels over 10 years levels until locking in at 19.9 percent of GDP in 2021 and beyond.

The legislation would require that Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) and it would need to be sent to the states for ratification before the president’s request for a debt limit increase is granted.

Senate Majority Leader Reid this week announced that the Senate will stay in session everyday – including weekends – until Congress sends President Obama legislation to avoid a defaulting on the nation’s debts.

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