Returning from a Thanksgiving hiatus, Democrats in Congress have run into trouble as the country slowly approaches Friday’s deadline to stave off government shutdowns and a December 15 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
The first hurdle for Democrats to go into hiding in their first week of life will be to prevent a government shutdown that occurs on Friday December 3, unless an ongoing decision or a bailout bill is made to continue funding the government.
For weeks in August and September, Republicans doggedly resisted helping Democrats raise their debt ceilings, but they were more open to help push the government away from closing. In late September, GOP MPs voted alongside Democrats to extend the government’s closure.
A compromise bill negotiated between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (RK) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York State) extended the deadline to December 3, but the deadline is now fast approaching.
With legislators on both sides generally backing the latest interim funding measure, voting 254-175 to pass the bill through the House of Representatives and 65-35 to pass it through the Senate, it is likely that both parties will support another interim bill to prevent the government from closing. which will lead to layoffs of federal employees and a reduction in public services.
But raising the debt ceiling will be much more difficult for Democrats. While preventing government closings has been popular with both parties, Republicans and Democrats are far more divided over debt ceilings.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said her department was using “emergency measures” to continue funding US debt, but warned that they could be unacceptable after around mid-December.
If the debt ceiling is not raised, the United States will default for the first time in its history, which, as Yellen warned, would have “catastrophic” consequences.
Since August, Republicans have insisted they will not help Democrats raise the debt ceiling, demanding that the party use a reconciliation process to get past a debt ceiling hike in line with party policies.
Republicans argued that if Democrats were willing to pass President Joe Biden’s massive $ 1.85 trillion social spending bill using the process, they should have no qualms about using the same process to raise the debt ceiling.
At the same time, Republicans stressed that they want to raise the debt ceiling and do not want the country to default, but are equally opposed to helping Democrats raise the debt ceiling.
However, Majority Leader Sumer rejected this approach.
“Passage of reconciliation [to raise the debt ceiling] is risky for the country and will not launch, “the senator said, adding that using the reconciliation to increase the debt limit is” very, very risky, “and said,” We are not getting it. “
Democrats, including Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California), and President Biden suggested Republicans were responsible for their failure to raise the debt ceiling, which they argued was historically bipartisan.
But this is far from the case. Although Democrats and Republicans have voted together to raise the debt ceiling three times under President Donald Trump, raising the debt ceiling has historically been a biased affair.
In 2006, then Senator Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer joined their party in an almost unanimous vote against raising the debt ceiling under President George W. Bush, citing disagreements with the Bush leadership. Speaking about his vote at the time, Biden explained that the debt ceiling should be raised, but that Democrats shouldn’t help Republicans to do so, echoing Republicans’ arguments amid the current controversy.
Debt ceiling remained a relatively low priority for Democrats until November, as they desperately tried to mobilize support for a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and a $ 1.85 trillion social spending bill. But now that the infrastructure bill has been signed and the budget bill has passed the House, Democrats will be forced to return to the debt ceiling issue.
Republicans, for their part, have given no indication that they have changed their minds, and without at least 10 Republican defectors, reconciliation may be the only option available to Democratic leadership – even though Democrats insist that they do not consider such a course. …