Ignore The Senate Vote! We're Still Lurching Toward a Deal, and It's Great for Republicans.

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 31 2011 2:45 PM

Ignore The Senate Vote! We're Still Lurching Toward a Deal, and It's Great for Republicans.

The headline is "Reid Bill Fails to Get 60 Votes in Senate." The headline is meaningless. The Reid plan that came to the Senate floor as an amendment to the Boehner plan was never going to pass. The vote served two functions -- smothering that plan with a pillow and bringing senators together again where they could be school on the new new new deal.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

And the new new new deal is looking likely to pass. As they exited the vote today, senators from both parties said they were confident something would be done and passed before August 2nd. There's general agreement that moving a deal through the House would be tougher than moving it through the Senate. The biggest impediment in the Senate would be, theoretically, getting unanimous consent to start moving. Even stalwart Tea Party Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he could agree with that.


"I'm against anything passing with less than a 60-vote margin," he said, "but if they collapse the time I'm okay with that."

So the discussion of the last hour has been about the triggers. For the joint committee to work, it needs to have what senators openly describe as "threats" -- horrifying cuts that make people think twice about giving up on the committee. But what Democrats are being asked to give up now are tax hikes as triggers. It's possible that the triggers will consist of entitlement and defense cuts, but not tax hikes. Democrats, battered and ready to deal, freely admit that this is horrible. When Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., was asked if he wanted revenue triggers, he was blunt.

"Yeah, sure, but there isn't one," he shrugged. "It's not one of the triggers."

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., was asked a hypothetical question. What if the committee fell apart because Republicans wouldn't agree to revenue increases/tax hikes? In that case, weren't Republicans well placed to get what they wanted from the triggers?

"Sure," he said. "You have to ask yourself, what's the alternative."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Americans' Inexplicable Aversion to the 1990s
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.