There is a very simple way for Congressional Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own, as Republicans have insisted.
All Republican lawmakers have to do is do nothing.
It would look something like this: Democrats would introduce a bill to raise the debt ceiling. No Senate Republican would obstruct the bill, allowing a simple majority vote on the legislation. The Senate’s 50 Democrats would then vote yes, and with a decisive vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, send the bill to President Joe Biden’s office for signature.
In this scenario, every Republican could vote no and register their opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. They might even continue to hammer Democrats over the vote ahead of next year’s midterm elections. But the economy would not collapse and the government would continue to pay its bills on time.
There’s only one problem: Republicans refuse to allow Democrats to do this easily. They prefer to make raising the debt ceiling as painful as possible to protest social spending and Democrats’ climate proposal, the Build Back Better Act. Republicans are fiercely opposed to the legislation – which includes money for child care, education, affordable housing and more.
If Democrats are to pass this social spending bill on their own, Republicans argue, they should amend it to include an increase in the debt ceiling, even though Congress has accumulated debt in recent years in a bipartisan fashion.
“Democrats will not get bipartisan help borrowing money so they can immediately spend historic sums on a tax and partisan spending spree,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday (R-Ky.) Moments after opposing a request from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (DN.Y.) to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling without any GOP votes.
“This Democratic government has spent months bragging about the radical transformation it is undertaking. They do not have standing to ask 50 Republican senators to make their process more practical, ”added McConnell.
Schumer, meanwhile, called the idea of raising the debt limit via reconciliation – which would not be filibustered and could pass with only Democratic votes as “not launched” because it would take too long to do it.
It’s unclear how long it would take to amend the Democrats’ budget resolution to include an increase in the debt ceiling: Democratic lawmakers say it could take at least a few weeks due to Senate procedural rules and objections likely GOP which could slow down the process even further.
“We are simply asking Republicans: walk away. Walk away when you risk the full faith and credit of the United States, to play a wicked political game, ”Schumer said Tuesday before making his request on the pitch.
Raising the debt ceiling allows the Treasury Department to borrow money to pay bills Congress already incurred with previous legislation. The United States must pay its bills on October 18, or else it will trigger an economic crisis that could shake markets and reduce government services, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Tuesday.
Senate Republicans on Monday obstructed a bill passed by the House that would have avoided an unprecedented default on U.S. debt holdings as well as a government shutdown, which is expected to take place on September 30 if Congress does not do not act. The vote on the measure fell in party favor, well below the 60 “yes” required to move it forward.
Congress is expected to vote this week on legislation that would fund the government for several months – but the issue of the more explosive issue of raising the debt ceiling has yet to be resolved. Republicans say they are adamant not to provide a voice to raise the debt ceiling no matter what. Attempts by Democrats to shame the GOP for doing so have so far failed. Democrats also don’t want to lift the debt ceiling on their own through reconciliation.
In addition, there is a risk that even if they end up giving in to the Republicans and fixing it through reconciliation, the Democrats will not be able to pass the Build Back Better Act with an increase in the debt limit. set in time before the October 18 deadline. The party has struggled to unite around the bill and its provisions.
“I don’t know that we will have a deal on reconciliation when the economy explodes and we have to pay our bills. So there is only one way forward here and the Republicans are doing the right thing, ”Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Said Tuesday.
The partisan struggle is fueling discussions among Democrats over how to obsolete debt ceiling locks in the future.
“The debt limit is useless in 2021 other than giving Republicans a chance to stir up political turmoil. The time to be serious about finances is when Congress votes on income and expenses. Period, ”Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Told HuffPost.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a founding member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost