Senate Democrats are discussing whether to retreat from a debt ceiling standoff with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Republicans, deciding the fight may not be worth shutting down the U.S. government, The Washington Times reports.
The fiscal deadline for Congress to adopt a budget is on Thursday, but Democrats have argued the date is unreasonable due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Keeping the government open and preventing a default is vital to our country’s future,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said.
Schumer added: “We’ll be taking further action to prevent this from happening this week.”
The bigger picture
Democrats want to keep the government open as they have two massive bills to pass. Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan has already passed through Senate reconciliation and can now get through the Senate with just 51 votes rather than the usual 60-vote supermajority required.
However, one holdout could end the measure, and two moderate Democratic senators continue to argue against the bill, insisting that it’s too expensive for their support.
Regardless, a government shutdown would end even the possibility for the legislation to move forward. Democrats will need to find some way to keep the government open if they intend to increase spending.
“Democrats won’t get bipartisan help paving a path to partisan recklessness. If they want to use fast-track, party-line procedures to ram through trillions more in socialism and inflation, they can use the same tools to handle the debt limit,” McConnell tweeted on Tuesday.
Democrats won’t get bipartisan help paving a path to partisan recklessness. If they want to use fast-track, party-line procedures to ram through trillions more in socialism and inflation, they can use the same tools to handle the debt limit.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) September 28, 2021
And there’s more!
The House will also need to pass the measure. House Democrats want to make the bill part of a two-step process that also includes supporting a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. However, Pelosi has warned Democrats to support both bills regardless of their relationship with one another.
Democrats also argue former President Donald Trump increased the debt ceiling and Republicans agreed with it then. While it is true the debt ceiling was raised, some Republicans disagreed with the move at that time as well.
This time, Republicans have no incentive to give in to Democratic plans to increase the debt ceiling. Instead, it is a tool they can use to help force some level of negotiation despite two enormous spending bills.