Senate

Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill

The Senate will vote on Monday on whether to take up a House-passed bill to avoid a government shutdown and suspend the nation's borrowing limit. 

The vote, set up by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday night, tees up a high-stakes showdown with global economic consequences if lawmakers aren't able to figure out a path forward.  

The House-passed bill will need 60 votes to advance in the Senate and will fall short. Democrats would need the votes of at least 10 GOP senators but no GOP senator has committed to supporting the measure. 

"The resolution is the answer for avoiding numerous fast-approaching crises on the horizon. ... Every single member in this chamber is going on record as to whether they support keeping the government open and averting a default, or support shutting us down and careening our country towards a default," Schumer said. 

Congress has until the end of the month to avoid a government shutdown. The House-passed bill would fund the government through Dec. 3. When Congress will need to raise or suspend the country's debt ceiling to avert a historic default is less clear, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said it should be prepared to do so in October.  

What comes next after Republicans block the House-passed bill is unclear. 

Democrats say they don't want to see a government shutdown when they control both Congress and the White House, but they haven't yet publicly outlined what a back-up continuing resolution (CR) that would split off the debt ceiling would look like.  

"I can't answer that," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters about whether there was enough support within the Senate Democratic caucus to split off government funding from the debt ceiling to avoid a shutdown.  

There are currently no negotiations going on between Senate Republicans and Democrats to try to come to some sort of agreement before Monday's vote. 

Republicans are trying to force Democrats to increase the debt ceiling as part of their $3.5 trillion spending bill, even though Democrats helped them suspend the debt ceiling under then-President Trump.  

Republicans see some political benefits in trying to get Democrats to do it on their own through reconciliation: They will be forced to provide a number to raise the debt ceiling to, instead of suspending it for an amount of time. Republicans are also trying to make it as difficult as possible for Democrats to pass the $3.5 trillion plan. 

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, indicated that they were waiting to see what Democrats do after the failed vote on Monday. He predicted that Democrats would turn to a short-term continuing resolution that doesn't include the debt limit. 

"I think that play is mainly in the Dems court," Thune said. "We think they pivot pretty quickly to Plan B. "

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