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Democrats remove debt limit from funding patch as shutdown looms

If the House and Senate pass the spending bill before midnight Thursday, Congress will avoid the more immediate crisis of a federal funding deadline. But the move pushes back measures to prevent the Treasury Department from defaulting on its loans – a breaking point the country could reach in less than three weeks.

While Senate Democrats have insisted on a bipartisan vote to avoid the debt cliff, they are unwilling to risk a government shutdown on the issue.

“I have no doubt the Democrats will not let the government shut down, and we are not defaulting on the debt,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “Even though Republicans want to flirt with, we don’t.”

The revised funding envelope does not include additional money for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel requested, and the Biden administration is backing, $ 1 billion to replenish hundreds of Iron Dome interceptors that toppled rockets fired from Gaza in a standoff between Israel and Hamas this spring.

House Democrats initially included funding for Iron Dome in the stopgap they passed last week, but the money has been stripped amid gradual resistance.

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) Said she is waiting for Senate Democratic leaders to decide on next steps to avoid a loss of federal cash after GOP senators blocked continuing resolution passed by the House and the suspension of the debt ceiling Monday night.

“We’ll see what the Senate does,” DeLauro said after the failed Senate vote. “The goal is not to shut down the government. We cannot shut down the government. So we’ll see where the Senate goes and what our direction is from there. “

The continuing last-minute resolution comes as the Biden administration has warned federal agencies to revise their contingency plans in case federal funds run dry. The annual appropriation process has taken a step back this year as Democrats have sought to pass trillions of dollars off as GOP’s unvote political priorities and both sides push to send in a deal. bipartite infrastructure in the president’s office.

House Democrats have passed a number of their party-based annual spending bills, but Senate appropriations action has stalled. Republican upper house appropriators want to cement a bipartisan deal on overall funding levels for military and non-military programs before they mark individual spending bills.

Any government funding deal for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 will require a bicameral, bipartisan agreement, including the support of at least 10 Republican senators.

Before resorting to the simplest route to prevent a shutdown this week, Democratic leaders discussed with President Joe Biden their options to raise the debt limit through the same budget reconciliation process they use to pass a multibillion dollar social spending bill with no GOP votes.

The top Democrats insisted, however, that they were not continuing the fiscal maneuver to manage the debt limit. Such a process could take weeks, placing Democrats in uncharted territory on a host of procedural issues the Senate parliamentarian would have to weigh.

Jennifer Scholtes and Connor O’Brien contributed to this report.

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