(CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday morning that an agreement had been reached for an extension of the nation’s debt ceiling through early December, a breakthrough to avert the economic disaster that ensues. comes after weeks of partisan stalemate on the issue.
“We have reached an agreement to extend the debt ceiling until early December and we are hopeful that we can achieve this as soon as today,” Schumer said.
The announcement comes a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly presented a debt limit proposal, prompting negotiations between the two sides to reach an agreement.
“Republican and Democratic members and staff negotiated in good faith overnight,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Thursday after Schumer. “The Senate is moving toward the plan presented yesterday to spare the American people a fabricated crisis.”
Both parties have made it clear that the country must not default and that even approaching default would likely have catastrophic economic consequences.
However, while the deal announced Thursday is to avoid immediate economic disaster, it does not resolve the underlying partisan deadlock on the issue. Just delay the fight until another day.
Republicans have insisted that Democrats must act alone to address the debt cap through a process known as budget reconciliation. Democrats have argued that the issue is a shared bipartisan responsibility and that the process is too long and unwieldy and that the risk of miscalculation would be too high.
That fundamental dispute remains, so it’s unclear what will happen in early December.
Lawmakers will also have to deal with the expiration of government funding in the same time frame after recently passing a short-term extension to avoid a shutdown that lasts until Dec. 3.
An aide familiar with the negotiations told CNN that the deal Schumer announced on Thursday is to raise the debt limit by $ 480 billion, which is what the Treasury Department told Congress it would need to go through by Sept. 3. December.
Schumer took action Thursday to establish a procedural vote on the agreement to increase the short-term debt ceiling should senators decide to delay the process.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin suggested that Schumer’s move is a precautionary measure. He said they do not yet know of a Republican senator who plans to oppose speedy passage of the debt limit increase.
“I don’t think that signal has been sent or received yet, I hope it isn’t,” Durbin said.
As of now, it seems likely that the Senate could approve the extension Thursday with a deal. But if there are objections, it could delay the final step until the weekend.
McConnell said Thursday that the agreement gives Democrats more time in the next two months to use the reconciliation to raise the debt limit themselves.
He argued that this solves “the majority’s excuse that they lacked time” to address it through the cumbersome budget process.
McConnell repeated again his other alleged pledge that Republicans would be open to discussing an increase in the longer-term bipartisan debt ceiling, if Democrats abandon their huge social safety net bill. However, that would be a failure for the Democrats.
“If our colleagues prefer a more traditional bipartisan discussion on basic governance instead, they may stop trying to impose another wave of reckless taxes and spending … That would be the path to that kind of discussion,” he said.
10 key figures from the government shutdown and the US debt ceiling
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned lawmakers that the federal government will likely run out of cash by October 18 unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.
But Congress may not even have that much time, as the deadline is more of a rough estimate than a deadline set in stone. That dynamic intensified pressure from both sides to reach an agreement this week.
CNN’s Lauren Fox and Ted Barrett contributed.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism