Update: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed a “contingency” plan for raising the debt ceiling Tuesday afternoon.
Saying the “Senate will absolutely not be a party to a default,” McConnell described a procedure allowing Obama to formally request a debt ceiling increase, for Congress to consider with a “motion to disapprove.”
Only one-third-plus-one votes in the both houses would be needed to raise the debt limit under the plan.
McConnell said spending cuts would not necessarily be a part of the deal, which would raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion in three tranches before the 2012 election.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would consider the proposal, but would prefer a straightforward deal.
Right-wing bloggers were quick to condemn McConnell’s proposal, with Red State’s Erick Erickson calling it a “historic capitulation.”
Original: Senate Republicans are considering a roundabout plan to increase the debt limit that would prevent default, but shine the spotlight on Democrats before the 2012 elections.
Congress would vote to increase the debt limit by $2.5 trillion in three installments under the proposal, according to an internal memo leaked to POLITICO today. President Barack Obama would have to propose offsetting spending cuts at each stage.
Both houses could vote only to disapprove of the increase, giving Republicans the ability to force Democrats to back more borrowing repeatedly before the election.
Obama would have the ability to veto any disapproval measure, virtually assuring the debt ceiling would still be raised.
It is not clear how House Republicans will respond to the proposal, a caucus including a significant number of lawmakers against any debt limit increase.
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