Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not block a debt limit extension into December, making an offer to temporarily end a partisan standoff just 12 days before the government’s deadline to avert default.
McConnell announced Wednesday that Republicans will not filibuster an extension of the debt limit as long as Democrats put a dollar amount on the increase, giving them more time to enact a long-term solution on their own. The statement from McConnell would appear to offer a short-term fix as the nation faces an October 18th deadline to lift the limit. “This will moot Democrats’ excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt limit legislation through reconciliation,” said McConnell in a statement.Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said it’s “not clear” if Democrats will accept McConnell’s offer, as they have yet to digest and discuss it. Similarly, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a close ally of President Joe Biden’s, said McConnell’s demand for a dollar figure would “likely” be “problematic for Democrats”, but said they will discuss it.
My new statement on the Democrats’ self-created debt limit crisis: pic.twitter.com/XwuqyS9oZ0
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) October 6, 2021
McConnell’s statement has likely delayed a procedural vote scheduled for Wednesday that would suspend the borrowing limit into next year. The motion needs 60 votes to avert what the Treasury Department warns would be an economic calamity if the country blows past the deadline.
GOP is getting nervous about the political implications of obstruction.
McConnell is losing his caucus and walking a tightrope between:
1. Controlling his members
2. Trolling Biden
3. Not pushing Dems to nuke filibuster
He’s really painted himself into a corner https://t.co/gbmebBbEb0
— Angry Staffer (@Angry_Staffer) October 6, 2021
According to NBC News, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office says the Senate will recess to allow Senate Democrats to meet. A procedural vote on the House-passed debt limit bill is unlikely until this meeting is over. How long that will take is unclear.
Sen. Joe Manchin implores Schumer and McConnell to work together on the debt ceiling, " I implore them to engage, start working, work this out. This should not be a crisis. "
What Sen. Manchin is still refusing to see is that Mitch McConnell doesn't want to work together. pic.twitter.com/I6Xc0UXuuy
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 6, 2021
GOP leaders have said for months that they won’t support a debt limit hike, although they insist it must be done. They say Democrats should use the complicated budget reconciliation process to bypass the GOP and lift the debt limit on their own. But President Joe Biden and Democrats have rejected that approach, calling it cumbersome and time-consuming.
I proudly stood with my colleagues today to introduce the new John Lewis Voting Advancement Act in the Senate.
It'd restore critical safeguards of the Voting Rights Act gutted by the Supreme Court and help fight suppressive voting laws.
The Senate will vote on this vital bill.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 5, 2021
Sen. Schumer said earlier on Wednesday that the GOP position blocking an increase was “reckless” and “irresponsible,” calling on them to “get out of the way.”
McConnell blinked on the debt ceiling.
Now Senate Democrats need to move on voting rights.
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) October 6, 2021
Before McConnell’s statement, one option that Senate Democrats said they were considering is changing the filibuster rules to allow a simple majority of the Senate to pass a debt ceiling extension. But that would require all 50 Democratic votes, and the party doesn’t appear to have the unity to do so.