Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation that would allow them to raise the debt ceiling without triggering a filibuster or going through a lengthy budget reconciliation process.
The amendment would set up a process for a one-time raise of the debt ceiling by a specific amount–expected to be $2 trillion–without requiring 60 votes, because it is attached to a Medicare bill that is expected to get enough Republican votes to avoid a filibuster.
Once the amendment and Medicare bill get a cloture vote, Democrats expect to pass the actual debt ceiling bill without any Republican votes.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that December 15 is the deadline to pass a debt ceiling raise without risking default on some U.S. obligations–an action that could trigger negative effects on the U.S.’s ability to get credit in the future and the rates it would be able to get.
Republicans weigh in
Senate Republicans said after a meeting with leader Mitch McConnell that there will be at least 10 Republican votes for the amendment.
“I would expect to be able to be for it,” Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) said. “I think it’s less of a problem for us on the Medicare bill than it would have been on the defense authorization bill.”
Republicans don’t want to see the U.S. default on its debt, but they don’t want to be a rubber stamp for Democrats to keep spending obscene amounts of money, either.
Critics of the GOP say that their actions in October and with this amendment amount to tacit agreement with the debt ceiling raise without having to vote for it.
Democrats are able to raise the debt ceiling without needing Republicans at all by using budget reconciliation, but the process can be lengthy and opens them up to Republicans adding on tons of amendments, each of which needs to be debated and voted on before the bill can move forward to a final vote.
What should happen
What really needs to happen is an evaluation of the current spending to see where cuts could easily be made. There is a lot of wasteful spending in the government’s $4 trillion budget, not to mention all the extra spending that has been going on since the pandemic started.
The current highly partisan environment makes such evaluation impossible, but it’s likely the only way to move toward fiscal responsibility, which even Democrats used to claim they wanted.
The deficit spending can’t go on forever; eventually, the country won’t be able to get any more credit, or hyperinflation will become a part of the picture.
The fear among the Republican rank and file is that the U.S. will go the route of Venezuela, and nobody wants to see that happen to the great U.S.A.