House

Two Democrats, one Republican vote against parties on debt ceiling

Two Democrats and one Republican crossed their parties in the House on Wednesday in a vote to suspend the country’s debt limit, as tensions run high on both sides of the aisle with less than a month to go until the nation is expected to default on its debt.

Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Jared Golden (D-Maine) bucked party lines on Wednesday afternoon when they joined Republicans in voting “no” on legislation to suspend the nation’s debt limit.

And on the opposite side of the aisle, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) was the only Republican to vote to send the measure to the Senate.

The legislation, which advanced by a razor-thin 219-212 vote, also faces shaky odds in the Senate, as GOP leadership has urged its members to tank the measure in the upper chamber.

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders of both parties that Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise or suspend the debt limit before the nation is expected to default on the national debt. 

But Republican leadership has been calling on their members to vote against raising the debt ceiling amid a high-stakes standoff with Democrats. The push by Republicans comes in opposition to a multitrillion-dollar social safety net package the party aims to pass using reconciliation, a procedure that will allow them to bypass the Senate GOP filibuster.

Republicans want Democrats to address the debt limit themselves by using that same process. But disagreements remain between party leaders over how much time the maneuver could take ahead of the looming deadline, and Democratic leaders have called it a non-starter. 

In recent days, Democrats have also tried to tackle the debt limit through a continuing resolution to fund the government ahead of a Thursday deadline to avert a shutdown. But Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to do just that earlier this week.

Republicans are similarly expected to block the legislation advanced by the House on Wednesday, which would suspend the nation’s debt limit until the end of next year.

The likely outcome appeared to be a source of contention for a small group of moderates who threatened to vote against the bill on Wednesday, citing concerns that the vote would just be for show.

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scolded moderates who threatened to vote against the bill hours before the vote.

“I’ve never seen Pelosi more impassioned as she demanded unity on the debt ceiling vote — essentially shaming those who might take it down,” one moderate who was present at the time said.

The Hill has reached out to offices of the lawmakers who voted against their parties for comment.

Tags Adam Kinzinger debt ceiling Janet Yellen Jared Golden Kurt Schrader Nancy Pelosi
See all Hill.TV See all Video