No. 2 Senate Democrat: Raising debt limit under reconciliation a 'non-starter'

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin working on 'adjustments' to energy policies in Biden spending plan Schumer: 'Good conversation' with McConnell on debt hike  Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks MORE (Ill.), the No. 2-ranking Senate Democratic leader, on Tuesday dismissed a proposal to use the budget reconciliation process to raise the federal debt limit with only Democratic votes as a non-starter.

Durbin warned that it would take three to four weeks to amend the Senate budget resolution and set up a special path to raise the nation’s debt ceiling without any Republican support.

“That is a non-starter. Using reconciliation is a non-starter,” Durbin said emphatically.

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He said he and other members of the Senate Democratic caucus have listened to Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it Lawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills MORE (D-N.Y.) explain the arcane process for using budget reconciliation to raise the debt limit and it’s so complicated that it takes 15 minutes to lay out the entire scenario.

“It takes him about 15 minutes for Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it Lawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills MORE to explain how that works, what it involves — three or four weeks of activity in the House and the Senate,” he said. “This notion, ‘Oh you just stick it on reconciliation,’ is a non-starter.”

Durbin said attaching the debt-limit measure to the human infrastructure investment package Democrats plan to pass under reconciliation or setting up a stand-alone reconciliation vehicle to raise the debt limit are both impractical.

Yet even as Durbin was throwing cold water on the idea of using reconciliation to raise the debt limit, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats Jan. 6 panel releases contempt report on Trump DOJ official ahead of censure vote Dem leader calls on GOP to 'cleanse' itself after Boebert comments MORE (D-Md.) was opening the door to that very option.

Hoyer hammered Senate Republicans, particular Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 MORE (R-Ky.), for voting to hike the borrowing limit under GOP presidents, then opposing the same maneuver when Democrats are in the White House.

But noting Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 Trump: McConnell must use debt limit to crush Biden agenda MORE's warning Tuesday that the Treasury's borrowing authority will expire on Oct. 18, Hoyer said Democrats simply may not have a choice but to pass the measure alone via reconciliation.

"It is not an alternative not to protect the full faith and credit of the United States. So we may have to use reconciliation," Hoyer said during a press call. "I think that would be a sad statement of Republican irresponsibility."

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Politico reported Tuesday morning that President BidenJoe BidenCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Manchin seeks 'adjustments' to spending plan MORE discussed the possibility of using budget reconciliation to raise the debt limit in a phone call with Schumer and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy raised 0K after marathon speech Davis passes on bid for governor in Illinois, running for reelection to House Feehery: Why Democrats are now historically unpopular MORE (D-Calif.) Monday evening.

Schumer on Tuesday announced he would request unanimous consent later in the day to allow a debt-limit suspension to pass with a majority vote without having to first overcome the usual 60-vote threshold to end a filibuster.

Republicans are expected to reject Schumer’s request. 

The entire Senate Republican Conference voted Monday to block a bill to fund the government past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 and to suspend the debt limit until Dec. 16, 2022. The legislation also included emergency funds to settle Afghan refugees and provide for disaster recovery in states hit by floods and wildfires.

Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay CBO releases cost estimate of Biden plan Real conservatives must make a choice MORE (R-Neb.) and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNew variant raises questions about air travel mandates Progressive groups urge Feinstein to back filibuster carve out for voting rights or resign Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-Calif.) missed Monday’s vote. 

Mike Lillis contributed to this story, which was updated at 12:52 p.m.