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Senate approves debt ceiling increase

Humberto Sanchez | Government Executive

January 29, 2010

Republicans this week helped defeat a proposal to create a similar panel that would make recommendations Congress would have been required to take up. That measure was sponsored by Gregg and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

Democrats cited GOP opposition to the pay/go amendment and the commission as evidence that Republicans plan to oppose every Democratic bill this year in hopes denying Democrats victories in November.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., noted that seven Republicans who previously backed the Gregg-Conrad measure voted “no” on both measures Thursday. Democrats noted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who last year said the commission proposal offered a chance for bipartisan cooperation, also opposed it this time.

Also Thursday, the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that would hold increases in discretionary spending to no more than a 2 percent increase a year for five years. The amendment needed 60 votes to pass but fell four votes short, 56-44.

Dan Friedman contributed to this story.

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