Manchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Democrats should use arcane budget rules to raise the debt ceiling if they can’t get a deal with Republicans.
Manchin, speaking at an Economic Club of Washington, D.C., event, first floated that the debt ceiling could be raised through the 14th Amendment, which says the public debt “shall not be questioned.”
“The debt limit should be the 14th Amendment. The president has the right to make that decision. We have the right to override if we think he went too far. That to me is the simplest,” Manchin said at the event.
But Manchin added that if Democrats can’t get GOP support for that idea, then Democrats should use arcane budget rules known as reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling.
“If we can’t do it, and they don’t agree on that, Democrats have the responsibility, being the majority party right now, to do it through reconciliation,” Manchin said.
Manchin’s comments come after Congress approved a short-term debt limit hike that raises the nation’s borrowing limit through roughly Dec. 3.
Eleven Republicans helped pass the short-term hike, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned in a letter to President Biden that Republicans wouldn’t help again later this year after he faced fierce pushback from conservatives and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) angered Republicans by giving a fiery floor speech after the vote.
“Last night, Republicans filled the leadership vacuum that has troubled the Senate since January. I write to inform you that I will not provide such assistance again if your all-Democrat government drifts into another avoidable crisis,” McConnell wrote in the letter to Biden.
The standoff over the debt ceiling has sparked new pressure among Democrats to change the legislative filibuster to provide an exception for bills related to the debt limit.
Biden indicated that the filibuster discussion could come to a head if Republicans blocked a debt hike later this year.
“I think you’re going to see … an awful lot of Democrats being ready to say … we’re going to end the filibuster,” he said.
But Manchin reiterated on Tuesday that he doesn’t support changing the filibuster, saying that it “makes no sense to me at all” to abandon the rule requiring 60 votes for most legislation.
If Democrats can’t get Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to support an exemption from the filibuster for the debt ceiling, they could raise the debt ceiling on their own through reconciliation, a process that allows them to bypass the 60-vote hurdle.
But Democratic leadership has been loath to put that option on the table.
“That’s one path. But we’re still hoping to have bipartisanship,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”