Senate locks in deal to vote on debt ceiling hike Thursday
The Senate has locked in a deal to pass a short-term debt ceiling extension on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) finalized the agreement to hold up to four hours of debate on the debt ceiling extension, followed by a key procedural hurdle to end debate on the bill, which will require 60 votes, around 7:30 p.m.
If they overcome that hurdle, the Senate would then move directly to a vote to pass the short-term debt extension, a move that will only require a simple majority.
The deal comes after hours of behind-the-scenes wrangling that followed Schumer announcing this morning he had reached a deal with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on the short-term debt limit extension.
Under the agreement, the debt ceiling will increase by $480 billion. The Treasury Department, according to Senate aides, thinks that will set up the next deadline for Dec. 3, the same day government funding is set to expire.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, predicted that there would be 10 GOP votes to help end debate on the debt ceiling.
“In the end we’ll be there, but it’s going to be a painful birthing process,” Thune said, asked about McConnell’s ability to 10 GOP votes to advance the debt ceiling hike.
But so far 10 GOP senators have not said yet that they would vote to end debate on the debt bill.
GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) have each said that they will vote to end debate.
But several other Republicans, including Thune, Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.), are keeping their powder dry.
Republicans had hoped to bypass the 60-vote hurdle and just move straight to a final vote, where Democrats could pass it on their own.
But conservative senators including Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are all insisting that the bill be able to overcome the 60-vote procedural hurdle.
Updated at 4:33 p.m.