Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is preparing to move legislation on his own in the Senate without the support of House Speaker John Boehner, a senior Democratic aide tells NBC News. This would set up dueling legislation between the Senate and the House -- if Boehner follows through on his threat to move alone in the House.
The aide says it’s possible Reid will bring a bill to the floor that would include $2.4 trillion in cuts and raise the debt ceiling through 2013. It may include elements of the so-called Reid-McConnell fall back plan, which gives President Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling and establishes a congressional committee to look at entitlements and revenues. This would also be a two-step process, but the debt ceiling would not be used as a enforcement mechanism hanging over the committee looking at cuts to entitlements and revenues.
White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley hinted at all of this on "Meet the Press" this morning:
There is a process that Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell in the Senate have talked about. And that would be a super committee that would be charged with trying to address the deficit over a very short period. Okay? And Sen. McConnell's plan, which he put forward about 10 days, two weeks ago, would then have a process by which the president would come to the Congress, ask for authorization to extend the debt ceiling, show what cuts he would make. The Congress would have the opportunity to vote up or down, and then move on."
Sen. McConnell has a plan where the president would come to the Congress, give his list of cuts, they could vote approval or disapproval on that proposal in order to get the extension of the debt ceiling. But it would not be this sword being held over the American people's heads, once again.
The aide described Harry Reid as "furious" last night after he left the meeting in Boehner's office. He said Reid went in with a range of proposals for a two-step process that didn't use the debt ceiling as a trigger in Round 2. There was no compromise.
What's not clear is where Mitch McConnell stands in all of this. He is laying low.
His spokesman put out a statement last night that said this: "There is bipartisan agreement on the need to prevent a default but given the unprecedented size of the debt ceiling increase the president is requesting, this is not an easy process."
Reid will likely be talking with McConnell this afternoon, the aide said.
As always, Stay tuned.