Most of the talk on the cable gab festivals regarding shutdown mania has focused on the interplay between House Speaker John Boehner and the President. And rightly so, since all spending bills really are supposed to originate in the House. (Of course, there are little tricks they can use in the Senate to get around inconvenient facts like the Constitution.) But the upper chamber began making noises about taking matters into their own hands this week.

“It’s been clear to me for a while we can’t wait for the House to save us,” said Richard Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat. “We have to find our own bipartisan path forward, and we haven’t done that yet.”

The emerging Senate talks have been focusing on a plan from Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which faces obstacles in both parties and both chambers of Congress.

Today, they decided to take it for a test spin. A fresh proposal to extend the debt cap – at least for a little while – was brought to the floor. So how did that work out for ya?

Democratic leaders in the Senate are rejecting an offer by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to end the budget impasse, arguing it asks for too much in return for too little, senators and aides tell POLITICO.

The development comes on the same day that the Senate voted 53-45 to block a Democratic bill that would raise the debt ceiling through 2014 without any spending cuts or changes to Obamacare.

So basically there aren’t sixty votes out there to end debate on anything which involves essentially a blank check for the federal government. It makes you wonder if they could pull this off even if the House did manage to put a similar package together. The current projection we’re hearing from the Hill holds that the witching hour is going to arrive on Thursday. At that point, choices will have to be made as to what gets paid and what doesn’t. The chief danger here is that the GOP will have virtually nothing to say about those decisions. The White House will have direct control over which checks get written and you don’t need a magic eight-ball to predict where the pain will be “equally distributed” if it comes to that.

But is there some way around it at this late date which is politically viable and could attract the required votes? I certainly don’t see one.