House panel to tee up debt ceiling hike with three weeks to avert default

House panel to tee up debt ceiling hike with three weeks to avert default
© Greg Nash

The House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday morning to advance a bill that would suspend the federal debt limit through December 2022, the panel announced Tuesday night.

The Rules panel is expected to pass along party lines a bill released Tuesday that would lift the federal debt limit until Dec. 17 of next year. The bill would then be ready for a vote in the full House as soon as that afternoon, but will almost certainly be blocked by Senate Republicans in the upper chamber.

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet YellenYellen says Biden's COVID-19 relief bill 'acted like a vaccine for the American economy' On the Money — Yellen highlights wealth gap in MLK speech Yellen: US has 'much more work' to close racial wealth gap MORE warned lawmakers Tuesday that the federal government would likely exhaust its “extraordinary measures” to avert a default by Oct. 18, giving the most specific estimate yet of when the U.S. could face an economic and financial disaster.

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Even so, Republican senators had warned for months that they would block any bill that would raise the debt ceiling and followed through twice this week. 

GOP senators filibustered a House-passed bill that would have suspended the debt ceiling through the same date and extended government funding beyond the current Oct. 1 expiration. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) also blocked Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) from passing Tuesday a separate bill that would suspend the debt ceiling through unanimous consent.

With the House’s stand-alone debt ceiling hike likely to fall Wednesday, Democrats are scrambling to find a way to avert the first-ever default on the national debt as Republicans refuse to help keep the country solvent.

Republicans are pushing Democrats to raise the debt ceiling through a budget reconciliation resolution — the vehicle for President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE’s multitrillion-dollar social services and climate bill — which could not be blocked by the GOP. Budget reconciliation resolutions only require a simple majority of votes, but will require unanimity among Democrats with narrow majorities in each chamber.

Democratic leaders have reluctantly opened the door to raising the debt ceiling through budget reconciliation, but have also expressed doubts about whether they could do so before the U.S. defaults.