Schumer to try to get deal to bypass filibuster on debt hike

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that he will try to bypass the legislative filibuster on increasing the country's borrowing limit — a move expected to be blocked by Republicans.

The move by Schumer, which he said he will request later Tuesday, comes after Republicans blocked a House-passed government funding and debt ceiling bill from getting the 60 votes needed to break a legislative filibuster on Monday night.

Schumer said that he will ask the Senate for unanimous consent, which any one GOP senator can object to and block, to set up a vote on a debt ceiling increase that could pass by a simple majority. That would allow Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling on their own.


"I will ask unanimous consent for the Senate to hold a vote to increase the debt limit at a majority threshold. ... It would be very similar to the process that Leader [Mitch] McConnell cited yesterday favorably which allowed for the debt limit to be increased without the minority party providing any of the votes needed to do so," Schumer said.

"If the Republicans really want to see the debt ceiling raised without providing a single vote, I'm prepared to hold that vote," Schumer added.

Under the Senate's rules, any one senator can make a request but any one senator can block it.

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor on Monday, noted that Republicans previously raised the debt ceiling on their own when they had a unified government during the Bush years.

"When Republicans had unified control in the early 2000's, then-senators Biden and Schumer voted 'no' on a debt limit increase and made the party in power handle it on their own," McConnell said.

But Democrats, at the time, didn't filibuster the bill, meaning Republicans were able to increase the debt ceiling with a simple majority and didn't need to break a 60-vote legislative filibuster.


But GOP leaders have acknowledged that they have members of their caucus who are insisting on filibustering a bill that raises or suspends the debt ceiling.

Neither Schumer nor House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) have said what their back-up plan is for increasing the debt ceiling or funding the government.

Congress has until the end of Thursday to prevent a government shutdown that would start on Friday. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenTreasury refrains from naming any currency manipulators US could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE warned congressional leaders on Tuesday that they will need to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 18.

Republicans have vowed for months that they won't help raise the debt ceiling, and that they want Democrats to do it as part of their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

That has some political benefits for Republicans, including that it forces Democrats to include a number for precisely how high they would raise the debt ceiling. Republicans would likely use that information in campaign attacks in next year's midterms.

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinFour questions that deserve answers at the Guantanamo oversight hearing Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Conservatives target Biden pick for New York district court MORE (D-Ill.) poured cold water on that idea on Tuesday.

“Using reconciliation is a non-starter,” Durbin said.