That’s how many Republican senators voted Saturday to advance a Democratic proposal that would have suspended the federal debt ceiling through the end of 2014.
The 53-45 vote, which fell short of the 60 needed to advance the measure, underscored how the two parties are still far apart on an agreement that would raise the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit and also end a partial government shutdown that’s in its 14th day.
“The Senate Democrats’ position has been and remains this: we open our government and pay our country’s bills so we can move forward with good-faith negotiations on a long-term budget,” Reid said before the vote. Reid voted ‘no’ under procedural rules that allow him to call for a revote on the bill.
Republicans said the Democratic debt-limit measure would have added $1.1 trillion in debt. Obama’s position is “give me what I want for the shutdown in government, give me what I want for the debt limit increase, and then we can talk,” Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming said yesterday on the Senate floor. Republican senators met with Obama on Oct. 11 at the White House.
Reid yesterday also rejected a plan by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine that sought to “push the next debt-limit fight to the end of January, extend government funding for six months to March and give federal agencies more flexibility under the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration,” Bloomberg’s Kathleen Hunter, Roxana Tiron and Richard Rubin reported.