Senate could clear debt bill Wednesday

The Senate could vote on a bill to extend the nation's debt ceiling on Wednesday, a leadership aide said.


The House is voting Tuesday evening on an extension through March 15, 2015, of the nation's borrowing authority. The bill would allow the Treasury Department to issue new debt totaling hundreds of billions of dollars above the current $17.2 trillion limit.

House GOP leaders have decided to bow to Democratic demands that the debt ceiling increase be "clean" and free of any policy changes. The decision was made after leaders failed to get 218 votes in the GOP conference for any partisan debt-ceiling proposal.

Conservative groups are up in arms over the decision, with the Senate Conservatives Fund calling for Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner won't say whether he'd back Biden over Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Amash's critics miss the fact that partisanship is the enemy of compromise MORE (R-Ohio) to lose his job.

A winter storm that's expected to drop several inches of snow on the Washington region beginning late Wednesday is motivating the quick action.

Sen Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz: 'Fox News went all in for Trump' 2 Republican senators introduce resolution to label antifa as domestic terrorists Ted Cruz: Trump's chances of winning reelection are '50-50' MORE (R-Texas) told The Hill he will filibuster the bill to require 60 votes but signaled he could allow a Wednesday vote.

"Any vote on the debt ceiling has to be subject to a 60-vote threshold," Cruz said. "Under no circumstances will I consent to a 50-vote threshold."

"I think it is a terrible idea to rise the debt ceiling while providing no structural reforms to the out-of-control spending," he added. 

Other Senate Republicans also appeared unhappy with a clean increase.

"I'd prefer to get something for it," Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) said. "This is not going the way I would like it to."

"Am I going to vote for it? Hell no!" Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Democrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' MORE (R-S.C.) said. "Isn't there some middle ground between defaulting on our debt and doing nothing to address our fiscal problems?" he asked.

--This report was updated at 2:39 p.m.