There’s a little grumbling going around on Capitol Hill today on a vote that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scheduled for this evening after the President Obama’s address.
Very shortly after the speech, the Senate will hold a symbolic vote on the resolution of disapproval of President Obama’s request to raise the debt ceiling. As you may recall from the debt cieling debate over the summer, this was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s idea, which figured into the final debt ceiling negotiated deal in which senators could go on the record showing their disapproval, even though the debt ceiling would still be raised as worked out in the deal brokered between the president and the congressional leadership.
The vote is a poignant one, quite the comparison coming almost immediately after Obama proposes his plan to create jobs that comes with a price tag of $400 billion or more.
McConnell took advantage of this pairing – his office noting that it is an “interesting bookend” to the day.
”After the president’s speech tonight calling for more stimulus spending, the Senate will vote on his request for an additional $500 billion increase in the debt ceiling, so senators will have an opportunity to vote for or against this type of approach right away,” McConnell said this morning on the Senate floor.
Reid’s decision to schedule the vote tonight was made in part to ensure that senators would attend the president’s speech. Wednesday two Republican senators, David Vitter from Louisiana and Jim DeMint from South Carolina, said they would sit out the speech.
Vitter today sounded out on Twitter that he would now have to miss his planned football party in Louisiana to stay in Washington to cast his late-night vote.
“Typical Harry Reid. He’s now scheduled votes that should’ve been this morn 4 right b4 & right AFTER prez’s speech. Pens me in 2 have 2 stay,” Vitter tweeted this morning.
Later he added an additional tweet: “Reid ensured I’ll miss my Saints party at home. Don’t worry – only strengthens my Who Dat resolve. On 2 the Super Bowl! #ReidDirtyBirdsFan?”
DeMint has an event scheduled in South Carolina with Boeing this evening. His office has not said whether he will stay in town yet or not.