Senate Republicans on Saturday blocked a bid by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt Fight over Biden agenda looms large over Virginia governor's race MORE (D-Nev.) to extend the nation’s debt limit until after the 2014 midterm elections.
In an 53-45 vote, the Senate failed to win the 60 votes necessary to advance the debt-limit measure to a floor debate. The bill would increase the federal debt by an estimated $1.1 trillion.
Every Democrat supported the measure, though Reid switched his vote at the end to preserve the right to bring the motion up for another vote later.
During the vote, a large number of Democratic senators huddled around Collins (R-Maine). Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAnti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (R-Alaska) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBiden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head Poll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (R-N.H.), the other two GOP centrists backing the Collins plan, joined her.
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Reid warned ahead of the vote that allowing the debt limit to expire would send the nation’s economy into a tailspin.
“What a sad day for America,” he said. “They’re voting to not allow us to even debate whether the debt ceiling should be raised. Are they afraid of that? Do they just want this to go away?
“Each hour that goes by, we’re closer to a calamity for our country,” he added.
The Obama administration has set an Oct. 17 deadline for expanding borrowing authority.
A group of Senate Republicans say the debt limit should not be raised unless President Obama agrees in advance to budget negotiations that would reform entitlement programs.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) warned the stock market will begin to plunge unless Congress acts this weekend. He said millions of Americans will see their savings decline.
“This irresponsible action, sadly, is likely to create a decline in value of your hard-earned savings,” he said. “It can be avoided. What would it take? Six Republicans. The Democrats are ready to move forward.”