Forty-six GOP senators are warning that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling as Republicans ramp up pressure on Democrats to increase the nation's borrowing limit on their own.
All but four members of the Senate Republican Conference signed on to the letter — addressed to "fellow Americans" and released Tuesday night — that warns that the 46 GOP senators won't support a debt hike, regardless of whether it's attached to another bill or brought up on its own.
"We, the undersigned Republican Senators, are letting Senate Democrats and the American public know that we will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle," the group wrote in the letter.
"This is a problem created by Democrat spending. Democrats will have to accept sole responsibility for facilitating it," they added.
Raising the debt ceiling doesn't cover new spending but allows the Treasury Department to cover money already greenlighted by Congress.
The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Sen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-Wis.), who is up for reelection next year and hasn't announced whether he will run. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDemocratic frustration with Sinema rises Senate Republicans raise concerns about TSA cyber directives for rail, aviation Democrats narrow scope of IRS proposal amid GOP attacks MORE (S.D.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate appears poised to advance first Native American to lead National Park Service Sunday shows preview: Senate votes to raise debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower blasts company during testimony The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (Wyo.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntIt's time to make access to quality kidney care accessible and equitable for all Hartzler pulls in 6,000 for Missouri Senate bid with .65M on hand McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (Mo.) — the second-, third- and fourth-ranking Senate Republican, respectively — were also among those who signed the letter.
The GOP senators who didn't sign the letter were Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse passes bill to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers Democrats look for plan B on filibuster Senate will vote on John Lewis voting bill as soon as next week MORE (Alaska), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyBlack Hawk pilot shot down in Somalia jumps into Alabama Senate race Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Senate Democrats unveil remaining spending bills, teeing up clash with Republicans MORE (Ala.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.).
That leaves Democrats short of the 10 Republican votes they would need to raise the debt ceiling outside of the budget process.
Congress previously voted in 2019 to suspend the debt ceiling for two years as part of a budget deal. But the country's borrowing limit kicked back in earlier this month, and the Treasury Department is using "extraordinary measures" to keep the United States solvent.
When exactly Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling or risk a default that would spark widespread, catastrophic economic consequences is unclear. But the Bipartisan Policy Center is estimating that it will need to happen this fall.
The GOP letter comes as Democrats appear ready to forgo trying to raise the debt ceiling on their own as part of a massive spending package they will bypass Republicans on later this year.
The budget resolution unveiled by Senate Democrats on Monday that sets up the $3.5 trillion spending plan doesn’t mention the debt ceiling. It’s also not included in two summaries, including a memo to Democratic senators that explains what they’ll include in the bill they want to pass this fall.
But McConnell doubled down on his pledge that Republicans wouldn't put up enough votes to raise the debt ceiling outside of the budget process.
“Here’s the comedy, they won’t let Republicans have any say in this monstrosity but they want our help raising their credit card to make it happen,” McConnell said.
“Democrats want Republicans to help them raise the debt limit so they can keep spending historic sums of money with zero Republican input and zero Republican votes,” he added.