Schumer sets up Wednesday vote to suspend debt ceiling

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will try again on Wednesday to advance a debt-ceiling suspension bill, amid an entrenched stalemate over the nation’s borrowing limit. 

Schumer, on Monday night, teed up a vote for Wednesday where he’ll need 60 votes to break a filibuster and move forward with suspending the debt ceiling through December 2022. 

That would require 10 Republicans to break ranks in the 50-50 Senate, something that is exceedingly unlikely.

“Before the end of this week, the Senate must — must — get a bill to the president’s desk to address the acute crisis of the debt limit,” Schumer said from the floor on Monday. 

“Even a near-miss can have dramatic consequences —every single day we delay taking action, we increase the chances of doing irreversible damage to our global financial system, our economic recovery and trust in our country’s ability to pay its debts,” Schumer added. 

Republicans have repeatedly signaled they have no intention of allowing a majority vote on the debt hike, or helping them get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday reiterated that it was up to Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. 

Though the debt ceiling kicked back in on Aug. 1, the Treasury Department has been using extraordinary measures to keep the country solvent since then. Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise the debt ceiling or risk a historic debt default that would have substantial, widespread economic consequences. 

Republicans have twice blocked Democrats from passing a debt ceiling suspension. The first time, Democrats tried to include it in a short-term government funding bill. McConnell then blocked an attempt by Schumer to bypass the 60-vote filibuster and sent up a simple majority vote on a stand-alone debt suspension bill. 

McConnell sent a letter to Biden on Monday urging him to get Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to agree to raise the debt ceiling on their own through reconciliation, a budget process that lets them bypass the filibuster. 

“The majority needs to stop sleepwalking toward yet another preventable crisis. Democrats need to tackle the debt limit. We gave them a road map and three months’ notice. I suggest that our colleagues get moving,” McConnell added from the Senate floor on Monday. 

Democratic leadership has so far ruled out putting reconciliation on the table, noting that Republicans could allow them to raise the debt ceiling with only their votes by not requiring 60 votes for a stand-alone debt ceiling bill. 

But some Democratic senators are opening the door to using the budget process if they can’t find another way to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. 

“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,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters on Monday. 

Tags Charles Schumer debt ceiling Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi

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