Saturday, November 27

Republicans would block a vote to suspend the debt ceiling

(CNN) — The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote Wednesday on whether to advance a House-approved bill to suspend the U.S. debt limit through December 2022, but Republicans are expected to block the measure. .

Pressure is increasingly on legislators to avoid an impending financial crisisBut Democrats and Republicans remain stuck on how to address the debt cap as the clock ticks toward potential default. The United States could be just over a week away from defaulting on its debt for the first time.

Republicans say Democrats, who control the houses of Congress and the White House, must act alone without Republican votes through a process known as budget reconciliation.

Democrats have been outraged by the GOP’s position, arguing that the debt limit is a shared bipartisan responsibility and have thus far largely ruled out the possibility of using reconciliation, saying it would be lengthy and unwieldy and that the risk calculation error is too high.

Wednesday’s vote is an attempt to break through obstructionism to end the debate and proceed to a final vote on approval. It would take 60 votes to be successful and the Democrats, who control 50 seats, would have to find at least 10 Republicans willing to support them, which is not expected to happen. It is unclear whether Republicans will vote with Democrats in the vote.

US debt ceiling, can an agreement be reached? 4:24

Republican lockdown and debt

This won’t be the first time Republicans have thwarted Senate Democrats’ efforts to suspend the debt limit.

Last week, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to suspend the debt limit and prevent the government shutdown from advancing. Later in the week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a request for unanimous consent to set a vote to suspend the debt limit with a simple majority threshold, but that was also blocked by Republicans.

Democrats continue to try to pressure Republicans to allow them to pass a simple majority increase in the debt limit without Republicans obstructing it. But so far there is no indication that the strategy is successful.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans for being “reckless” and urged them to “get out of the way” and allow Democrats to pass the House bill suspending the debt limit. .

“The Republican obstruction of the debt ceiling in recent weeks has been reckless, it has been irresponsible,” Schumer said in remarks Wednesday before the vote. “But nonetheless, today Republicans will have a chance to get exactly what they kept asking for. The first and easiest option is this: Republicans can just get out of the way and we can agree to skip the obstructionist vote so we can proceed to final approval. of this bill. “

For Republicans, Democrats “are wasting their time.”

Republicans have argued that Democrats are wasting time on votes that have no chance of succeeding since they have made their position clear.

“Even now, while the Democratic leader complains that he is short on time, he continues to waste time on partisan stunts that are dead on arrival. He scheduled another vote for this afternoon that he knows will fail,” the Senate minority leader said. , Mitch McConnell, in remarks in the Senate on Wednesday before the vote.

“Most have known for three months that votes like this would go nowhere,” McConnell added.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned lawmakers that the federal government is likely to run out of cash by October 18 unless Congress raises the debt limit. But Congress may not even have that much time.

That’s because October 18 is not a fixed deadline. It’s more of a rough estimate of when the money will run out, making it much more difficult to know exactly when Congress would have to act to prevent a potential financial catastrophe, and increasing the chances that lawmakers could accidentally trigger a default by not Act. early.

CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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