Joe Biden Shows Off His Famous Tact in the Tense Hours Before Debt-Ceiling Vote

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Joe Biden probably about to say something ill-conceived. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tonight is a big night for the future of the American economy. The Satan sandwich pieced together by President Obama and Republican leaders over the weekend is expected to sail easily through the Senate tomorrow, but not before being tested this evening in the volatile House, where passage, as of now, is likely but not certain. According the Hill's whip count, as of 5:21, 61 representatives are likely to support the legislation, compared to 31 who won't. And a procedural vote this afternoon to move the bill forward passed in a 249-178 vote, so that's a good sign.

It's the Democrats who are the least enthusiastic about the bill. Nancy Pelosi will grudgingly support it, but she's telling the rest of her caucus to do whatever the hell it wants. "She told us to leave it to our individual consciences," said a Democrat from North Carolina. Earlier today, Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, said the GOP will need to provide at least 150 votes. The Democrats will take care of the remainder.

In other words, if there was any time to not unnecessarily rile up the Republicans, it would be now, in the tense hours before a major vote which requires their support. Quick, somebody, lock up Joe Biden! Gah, too late:


Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit.

It was in a private meeting with his fellow Democrats that Biden compared tea partiers to terrorists — the absolute worst people in the world, besides judges! — but since the remark was bound to leak, it was probably not a smart thing to say. It's not as if a bit of name-calling should actually impact the vote. But you never know what those irascible tea partiers are capable of. Would some of them oppose the bill out of spite and hurt feelings? Probably!

Biden: Tea partiers like 'terrorists' [Politico]
WHIP COUNT: House leaders in both parties seek votes to pass debt-limit deal [Hill]