Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed Thursday that Congress will find a way to avert a government shutdown next week, dismissing threats from Senate Republicans who intend to block the legislation.
“Whatever it is, we will have a CR that passes both houses by Sept. 30,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol, referring to the short-term spending bill known as a continuing resolution.
The House on Tuesday passed a legislative package to extend government funding through Dec. 3 and provide emergency funds for resettling Afghan refugees and responding to a series of natural disasters around the U.S. On its own, that package has broad bipartisan support.
But Democratic leaders also attached language to suspend the debt limit in the face of warnings that the Treasury Department will exhaust its borrowing authority sometime next month. A government default, economists of all stripes have warned, would tank the U.S. economy and send reverberations around the globe.
Despite those warnings, GOP leaders in both chambers are opposing the debt limit hike to protest President Biden’s spending plans, which include a $3.5 trillion social spending proposal that Republicans say the country can’t afford.
In Tuesday’s House vote, every Republican opposed the continuing resolution paired with the debt ceiling suspension. The dissent infuriated Democrats, who had joined Republicans to raise the debt ceiling three times under former President Trump.
“It’s quite appalling, because when Republican presidents were there, we always had bipartisan support for that,” Pelosi said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he supports raising the debt limit to prevent a default, but insists it’s not the GOP’s responsibility to vote for it because they’re the minority party.
“Don’t play Russian roulette with the economy,” he said Wednesday. “Step up and raise the debt ceiling.”
Without Republican support, though, the House-passed bill can’t defeat a filibuster in the Senate. McConnell has introduced an alternative resolution that excludes the suspension of the borrowing limit — a proposal Democrats have rejected out of hand.
Given the impasse, it’s unclear how Congress will prevent a government shutdown, which is set to happen at the end of the day Sept. 30 unless Congress acts first to prevent it.
Pelosi expressed faith Thursday that they’ll reach a deal.
“We sent that bill over to the Senate,” she said. “Depending on what happens there we will keep government open by Sept. 30.”