WASHINGTON — The Senate, in quick succession this afternoon, decided it didn’t like either the GOP or the Democrats’ spending plans and decisively shot down both of them.
And in a scene straight out of “Let’s Make a Deal,” almost no one seems to know what’s behind Door No. 3.
Here’s what happened earlier this afternoon. Under a deal struck by Senate leaders, both HR 1 (the House-approved budget plan) and a separate measure backed by Senate Democratic leaders would be voted on, up or down, in that order. Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, by the way, both voted no on the GOP’s plan, and yes on the Dems’ plan.
The Republican-backed House plan failed 44-56. And in a bit of a twist, the Democratic Senate leadership plan garnered even fewer votes, going down 42-58.
There is no third plan currently on the table, and the current continuing resolution funding the government runs out next week Friday. In my conversations with several Senate and House staffers today, the common responses came twofold. First: No one outside of party leadership really knows what’s on the table. And second: The expectation remains that something will get done so the government won’t shut down.
Talking Points Memo caught up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as he exited a closed-door negotiation with Arizon Republican Jon Kyl, and his comments seemed to validate those guesses:
“With this vote out of the way, we’re going to do some serious negotiations now — this paves the way to get something done,” Reid said. “We’re working on a number of issues. But our goal is to fund the government the rest of this year, and then out-years. This isn’t just for the next few weeks. We want to try to get a universal deal, and do something good for the country.”
This sounds like the seeds of a broad plan to both fund the executive branch through the end of the fiscal year and to bring down the deficit on a variety of fronts, in much the way Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) outlined at the Center for American Prospect Wedensday morning.