(photo: Nick Kidd)

The President’s address this morning wasn’t entirely useful, though he did lay out the compromise that everyone expects to get out of this unless John Boehner just lights himself on fire on the House floor while yelling “Wolverine!” He basically outlined the Reid plan, with Mitch McConnell’s resolution of disapproval approach attached to it and a trigger mechanism for the Catfood Commission II that would be enacted. So Reid-McConnell with a trigger, something that would come about if Congress votes down the recommendations of the Catfood Commission II.

Several Senate Republicans have intimated that they would sign onto such a deal. We already mentioned Bob Corker today. Brian Beutler has a fuller list.

Right now, Democrats are looking to about 11 gettable GOP votes: Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Scott Brown (R-MA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Tom Coburn (R-OK). The last three were the Republican members of the Gang of Six deficit reduction group.

You could be rightly skeptical that any of these Republicans will agree to vote for the Reid plan, even while it gives Republicans everything they want. At least a couple, Snowe and Brown, have elections in 2012, which may have them thinking about a primary.

A lot depends on the design of that trigger, and what would happen if the Catfood Commission II recommendations fail. This is pretty crucial, because it could be a backdoor way to enact the Gang of Six, Bowles-Simpson, automatic spending cuts, or any number of items.

The other issue is the raw procedural aspect. Right now the Senate is on track for its first vote on this bill in the wee hours of Sunday morning. They could accomplish this by taking whatever the House passes (they’re voting on their bill right now) and just amending it with their version, or by offering their own bill as an alternative. The Senate Dems have set a deadline of midnight tonight for Mitch McConnell to find an alternative solution, but McConnell would have to agree to talks. He would also be needed to keep his caucus in line, so that obstruction and delaying tactics don’t drag out the process until after Tuesday night when the debt limit is reached.

At whatever point the Senate finds the votes and passes the Reid bill, they would probably jam the House with it, leaving town and forcing Boehner to make the decision of whether to allow it to pass with 40 Republicans and 180 Democrats. And it’s entirely unknown what Boehner would do at that point. He’s following the iron law of institutions, where his position inside the institution is more important than the institution itself.

UPDATE: John Thune blessed this process. It’s entirely possible that the GOP doesn’t filibuster and allows this bill to pass via majority vote. That way less of their members have to vote for it.

The President’s address this morning wasn’t entirely useful, though he did lay out the compromise that everyone expects to get out of this unless John Boehner just lights himself on fire on the House floor while yelling “Wolverine!” He basically outlined the Reid plan, with Mitch McConnell’s resolution of disapproval approach attached to it and a trigger mechanism for the Catfood Commission II that would be enacted. So Reid-McConnell with a trigger, something that would come about if Congress votes down the recommendations of the Catfood Commission II.

Several Senate Republicans have intimated that they would sign onto such a deal. We already mentioned Bob Corker today. Brian Beutler has a fuller list.

Right now, Democrats are looking to about 11 gettable GOP votes: Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Scott Brown (R-MA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Tom Coburn (R-OK). The last three were the Republican members of the Gang of Six deficit reduction group.

You could be rightly skeptical that any of these Republicans will agree to vote for the Reid plan, even while it gives Republicans everything they want. At least a couple, Snowe and Brown, have elections in 2012, which may have them thinking about a primary.

A lot depends on the design of that trigger, and what would happen if the Catfood Commission II recommendations fail. This is pretty crucial, because it could be a backdoor way to enact the Gang of Six, Bowles-Simpson, automatic spending cuts, or any number of items.

The other issue is the raw procedural aspect. Right now the Senate is on track for its first vote on this bill in the wee hours of Sunday morning. They could accomplish this by taking whatever the House passes (they’re voting on their bill right now) and just amending it with their version, or by offering their own bill as an alternative. The Senate Dems have set a deadline of midnight tonight for Mitch McConnell to find an alternative solution, but McConnell would have to agree to talks. He would also be needed to keep his caucus in line, so that obstruction and delaying tactics don’t drag out the process until after Tuesday night when the debt limit is reached.

At whatever point the Senate finds the votes and passes the Reid bill, they would probably jam the House with it, leaving town and forcing Boehner to make the decision of whether to allow it to pass with 40 Republicans and 180 Democrats. And it’s entirely unknown what Boehner would do at that point. He’s following the iron law of institutions, where his position inside the institution is more important than the institution itself.

UPDATE: John Thune blessed this process. It’s entirely possible that the GOP doesn’t filibuster and allows this bill to pass via majority vote. That way less of their members have to vote for it.

David Dayen

David Dayen