Manchin open to debt hike through reconciliation, rules out nixing filibuster

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Biden seeks to quell concerns over climate proposals MORE (D-W.Va.) said on Monday that Democrats should raise the debt ceiling through reconciliation if they have to, ruling out nixing the legislative filibuster to do so.  

“They shouldn’t rule out anything. We just can’t let the debt ceiling lapse. We just can’t,” Manchin told reporters, asked about Democratic leadership ruling out using reconciliation, a budget process that lets them bypass the filibuster, to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. 

Asked if he was saying Democratic leadership should raise the debt ceiling under reconciliation, Manchin added: “Whatever they have to do, absolutely.”  

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Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise the country’s borrowing limit, according to a letter from Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenUS deficit hits .8 trillion, second largest in history Financial oversight panel unveils climate risk plan On The Money — Democrats eye tough choices as deadline looms MORE, or risk a historic default that would have widespread economic consequences. 

Asked if he would support nixing the the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling, Manchin instead pointed to reconciliation as one way they could raise the debt ceiling without GOP help. 

“The filibuster has nothing to do with debt ceiling. Basically, we have other tools that we can use and if we have to use them we should use them,” Manchin said.  

“Forget the filibuster, OK? We can prevent default ... there’s a way to do that. There’s a couple other tools that we have that we can use. Takes a little bit of time. It’s going to be a little bit of pain, long vote-a-ramas,” Manchin told reporters, referring to the marathon voting sessions that occur as part of the Senate considering a bill under the reconciliation rules. 

The White House and Senate GOP leadership are at a standoff over how to raise the debt ceiling. 

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Republicans have twice blocked bills that would suspend the debt ceiling, including preventing a short-term government funding bill that would have suspended the debt ceiling through 2022 from getting the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster.  

That’s fed calls from outside groups and some Senate Democrats to nix the 60-vote legislative filibuster or exempt the debt ceiling from the legislative filibuster. 

“The idea that you can filibuster the debt ceiling is an outrage,” said Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin: Negotiators to miss Friday target for deal on reconciliation bill Democrats look for plan B on filibuster The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats MORE (D-Ill.) on Monday.

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.) sent a letter to President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE on Monday “respectfully” urging him to lean on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJudge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech GOP lawmaker calls for Meghan, Harry to lose royal titles over paid leave push MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocratic frustration with Sinema rises Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Guns Down America's leader says Biden 'has simply not done enough' on gun control MORE (D-N.Y.) to raise the debt ceiling through reconciliation.  

"I respectfully submit that it is time for you to engage directly with congressional Democrats on this matter," McConnell said of the debt ceiling in a letter to Biden. 

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"Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months' notice to do their job," McConnell wrote. 

But Democratic leadership has repeatedly ruled out raising the debt ceiling through reconciliation, arguing that it’s too risky and noting that Democrats didn’t filibuster debt increases when Republicans had a unified government under former President George W. Bush.  

Schumer, in a letter to the Democratic caucus, said he wants to get a debt ceiling bill to Biden’s desk by the end of the week.  

"Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: we must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period," Schumer wrote in a letter to Senate Democrats on Monday. 

Durbin, asked about Democrats' reluctance to use reconciliation, added, "I'm not going to say anything's impossible." 

"But the consistent message from the caucus is that would take additional time, a series of votes, and delay. Which is exactly what McConnell wants," he added.