Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring up a ‘clean’ debt limit increase on Tuesday, even though it’s not clear that Democrats can pick up the six Republicans they would need to reach the 60-vote threshold to pass such a bill.
But a senior Senate Democratic aide told Business Insider that some Senate Democrats are “rumbling” about another route to passage: Ruling that the Senate’s 60-vote threshold is unconstitutional and passing the bill with a simple majority.
“There are rumblings within the caucus, but no serious discussions yet,” said the aide, when asked if Democrats might make the rule change often known as the “nuclear option.”
Senate Democrats have previously discussed making this rule change, most recently in June during a controversy over stalled executive branch nominations. But proposals to use the “nuclear option” have been stalled by opposition from Republicans and a handful of Senate Democrats, including Carl Levin (Mich.), according to the Washington Post.
If Levin and other reluctant Democrats are ever going to be convinced to support a rule change on filibusters, the debt ceiling seems like the optimal scenario: A situation where Republican opposition is especially irresponsible and Senate action could pressure the House to take action to save the U.S. economy from serious damage.
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