Reid Loses Big in Debt Ceiling Debate

After all of Reid’s puffery that his plan was the only one that could get through both houses of Congress, the Democratic leader suffered an embarrassing blow today when his (recrafted) proposal flopped in the Senate:

The vote, initially planned for late Saturday, ultimately proved inconsequential, with leaders working to agree on terms of a new plan. The Senate could return to vote on it Sunday evening if an agreement is reached.

Rep. John Boehner was supposed to be the loser of the debt ceiling debate, the one who was too weak to get his unruly members in line on his plan. Instead, as Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard, Boehner’s last-minute maneuvering unified the Republicans and ultimately vindicated the House speaker:

Democrats, liberals, the media, rent-seeking corporate heads, an untold number of interest groups, and the permanent Washington establishment loathe the budget amendment. But it’s extraordinarily popular with the public. And that was important for Boehner’s purpose. It was a tranquilizer for jittery Republicans. They could boast of insisting it be in the bill, thus offsetting their vote for raising the debt limit. It was a clever trade-off and it worked. Boehner got the last 10 votes he needed.

Adding insult to injury, Reid appears to have been pushed to the side as Sen. Mitch McConnell and the White House negotiate a last-minute plan. With just control of the House, Republicans have managed to seize the reins on the debate. Tea Partiers might grumble about compromising, but that pales in comparison with how furious progressives are likely to be with the Democratic Senate leader.