Republicans and Democrats are once again heading for a government shutdown and credit default.
The showdown is set for Monday when the Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer has scheduled a first vote on a short-term financing measure to prop up the government and suspend the debt cap for a year.
“Democrats will be united in supporting the passage,” the president said. Schumer, New York Democrat. “It’s the right thing to do for the American people.”
He needs at least 10 Republicans to support legislation to pass the 60 vote filibuster threshold. He urged them, noting that raising the cap on how much the government can borrow to pay federal spending has generally received bipartisan support.
The closing date is Thursday.
Most GOP Senators, with the vocal support of former President Donald Trump, are refusing to support any hike to the debt ceiling. They say that if Democrats are content to pass President Biden’s $3.5 trillion Social Security bill in a party vote, they should also be responsible for raising the debt ceiling to accommodate that spending.
“From the outset, they planned to use a fast-track party line process to get through the Senate…their vision of America,” said Kentucky Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. “If they want to tax, borrow and spend historic sums of money without our input, they will have to raise the debt limit without our help. This is the reality.”
Congress must approve an annual budget by September 30 to keep the government running. In recent years, lawmakers have regularly missed the deadline and relied on short-term financing accounts to buy more time.
This year, Mr. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, tied the emergency measure to legislation suspending the federal debt ceiling until December 2022.
Democrats call their insistence on a bipartisan vote to suspend the debt ceiling a matter of principle.
“Archaic rules require that we sign once to spend the money and again to take it out of our piggy bank — even if it’s already been spent,” said Representative Katie Porter, a California Democrat who is a member of the House Oversight and Reform. committee.
Democrats say suspending the debt ceiling for a year will give them time to focus on Mr Biden’s legislative agenda, which is already bogged down by intra-party fighting.
Party leaders also personally view the struggle as one that could be politically beneficial ahead of what is expected to be a grueling midterm election. They also know that raising the debt cap and pushing about $4.7 trillion in new spending will expose them to campaign attacks for reckless spending.
mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi hope that by capturing the Republicans now, they can save their meager majorities.
“Ultimately, all that matters in a legislative body is how you vote,” said Mr De Boer. Schumer. “Every member of this chamber will indicate whether they support keeping the government open” [and] averting a default or support to shut us down and put our country on the path to a very first default.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are playing with fire.
The GOP has been burned repeatedly for being the party that shut down the government. If there is a shutdown and default, Republicans risk losing credibility on fiscal responsibility.
“If they vote no, they will solidify themselves as the party of the standard,” said Mr De Boer. Schumer.
Republicans refute that the Democrats are the ones who play political games.
GOP lawmakers have pledged to back a “clean” spending bill to keep the government open, while urging Democrats to unilaterally tackle the debt ceiling through budget alignment. The process, which Democrats plan to use to approve Mr. Biden’s $3.5 trillion package, will allow some spending and tax measures to avoid a filibuster and pass by a simple majority of 51 votes.
“They have all the procedural tools they need to quickly develop a separate self-contained piece of legislation to address the debt cap without a single Republican vote,” said Mr. McConnell.
Republican leaders argue that Democrats are wary of going it alone because it would force them to give up an exact amount for the debt ceiling. Such a number, which will be above the current cap of $28.5 trillion, exposes vulnerable Democrats to attack.
“Why would Democrats single-handedly raise the debt ceiling above $30 trillion,” said a Democratic aide, requesting anonymity. “If all that will happen is that Republicans will use the figure to relentlessly overlook our candidates.”
Given the intransigence on both sides, Mr. Schumer’s bill to keep the government going and suspend the debt ceiling represents great opportunity.
It takes at least 10 Republican defectors to break through a filibuster. Only four at the moment GOP senators are likely to support the bill.