Pelosi and Schumer said they would tie a debt ceiling suspension to the government’s funding bill.
McConnell was quick to dismiss the idea, saying the GOP would not vote for the legislation.
They effectively challenged him to vote for the United States to default on its debt, and he took up their challenge.
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As the White House stressed the urgency of raising the debt ceiling to avoid a government default, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday that the House would pass legislation to fund the government that includes a suspension of the debt ceiling through the end of next year.
It was a challenge for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who would need to cast ten Republican votes to avoid filibuster and clear the Senate. The Kentucky Republican was unfazed.
“We will not support legislation that raises the debt ceiling,” McConnell said after Pelosi and Schumer’s announcement. “Democrats don’t need our help.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress earlier this month that government money will likely run out in October due to financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Monday that the House would pass legislation by October to fund the government until the end of the year and tackle a suspension of the debt ceiling until December “for a period of time. once again meet our obligations and protect the full faith and credit of the United States.
“Tackling the debt limit is about meeting obligations the government has already taken on, like December’s bipartisan COVID emergency relief legislation as well as life-saving payments to Social Security recipients and our elders. fighters, ”the lawmakers wrote. “Further, as the administration warned last week, a forced reckless default by Republicans could plunge the country into a recession.”
Republican lawmakers have said they will not get involved in raising the debt ceiling and want Democrats to deal with it on their own, citing their “irresponsible spending” on a $ 3.5 trillion social spending bill. dollars. Yet renewing the country’s ability to borrow and pay its bills – known as the debt ceiling – is also about covering spending obligations that Congress has already approved.
Democrats attack what they see as Republican hypocrisy, noting that the national debt has increased by nearly $ 8 trillion under President Donald Trump – mainly thanks to GOP tax cuts and spending programs bipartite emergency response during the pandemic. Republicans have supported raising the debt ceiling three times under the Trump administration.
By adding the debt ceiling to government funding legislation, Pelosi and Schumer are challenging the GOP to vote for default. “The American people expect our fellow Republicans to take responsibility and pay off the debts they proudly helped incur in the December 2020 COVID ‘908’ package that helped American families and small businesses to recover from the COVID crisis, “Pelosi and Schumer wrote, referring to the December stimulus package adopted under President Donald Trump.
On Sunday, Pelosi wrote in a letter that whenever the debt ceiling was to be raised, “Congress has approached it in a bipartisan fashion.” On the same day, Yellen urged Congress to meet to raise the limit, citing the “economic catastrophe” that could result from failure.
A large majority of Senate Republicans are retreating and following McConnell’s lead, saying they will vote against the measure. They also insist that Democrats can resort to reconciliation, the same party-line process that is used to beef up a $ 3.5 trillion social spending program.
“[Democrats] got the votes to keep us from defaulting, let’s see what they do, ”Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the most senior member of the Credit Committee, told Insider.
Shelby was one of a handful of GOP senators who failed to sign a pledge in August to oppose lifting the debt ceiling. That list included Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who was pressed by reporters to see if she supported raising the borrowing limit. “I’m not answering that,” she said.
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