Senate Democrats Are Going To Try To Pass A Clean Debt Ceiling Increase

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will introduce a bill later Tuesday that would permit a “clean” increase in the nation’s debt ceiling.

The bill would extend the nation’s borrowing authority through the end of 2014, past the midterm elections. It is a clean increase without any policy riders attached, a Senate Democratic aide told Business Insider.

The first key vote for cloture on the bill could come as soon as Thursday. If Republicans use Senate procedure to string out the process, it could lead to a final vote right up against an Oct. 17 deadline.

The Democratic aide said that Senate Democrats were still working on getting enough votes for to break a filibuster. If all 52 Democrats and two independents vote for the measure — something of which Democrats say they’re confident — Democrats would need six Republicans to vote for the bill.

The aide mentioned GOP Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as Republicans that have previously said they could vote for a clean increase. But so far, there are “no commitments yet,” the aide said.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have also expressed openness to a clean debt limit increase in recent days, according to press reports.

Reid’s plan on the debt ceiling was hatched Monday, after House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman issued a statement saying the House won’t take up a “clean” debt limit increase because it can’t pass the Senate. Senate Democrats think it can, and they think it would put House Republicans in the awkward position of either having to pass a similar increase or take responsibility when the limit is reached on or around Oct. 17.

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