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“Never mind”: Democrats reject the GOP’s demands for a debt limit

The official Republican party position “I don’t care,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “We’re not negotiating the debt ceiling.”

Republican leaders respond that they do not have the votes to pass a clean debt ceiling extension without removing it Expenditure. The Senate GOP recently made it a conference position to combine spending cuts with raising the debt ceiling.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune said it was “unlikely” he could cast 10 votes for the debt ceiling without cutting spending. Republicans said while their new caucus rule is non-binding, GOP senators are eager to take a hard line on debt.

“I don’t think Republicans will vote for a clean debt ceiling. That would be the worst of all worlds, ”said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), a close ally of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

Democrats also have the option of completely ignoring Republicans on the debt ceiling, though they would have to consider a budget resolution to create the conditions to take advantage of the reconciliation process so that they only need a simple majority and full unity of parties. You could also try putting it in a spending bill for this fall or an infrastructure bill for this summer if the timing is right.

Regardless of how Democrats do it, they know there is no wiggle room to mess around with.

“This is always a death-defying act of legislation. And it’s a damn shame because we regularly tie ourselves in knots and do what we know must do, ”said Dick Durbin, Senate majority whip.

Durbin and several other Democrats said they would prefer to pass an increase with Republican support. The last time a Democratic majority did this, the vote was held open for hours while Republicans worked to produce the votes.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who filibustered this earlier bill to ensure the Democrats needed some Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling, said he would repeat his previous tactic: “We should use every tool to stop the bankruptcy of our children and grandchildren. “

“In just four months, Joe Biden proposed over $ 6 trillion in new spending,” said the Texas Republican. “This is irresponsible and threatens the financial security of our nation.”

When asked this week whether Democrats would use reconciliation to cope with the debt ceiling and shut down the GOP, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer slapped Republicans for policy on the country’s financial security. But in the end he said, “We should be doing something right.”

Cruz said Republicans should use the debt ceiling as a crowbar to call for budget reform, pointing to the debt ceiling, which ushered in an era of tight funding restrictions under the budget control bill about a decade ago.

“In the past, the debt ceiling has proven to be the most effective lever to implement meaningful spending reforms and structural reforms,” ​​he said.

When asked if Republicans would make their demands for reform adamant, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), A staunch Fiscal Hawk, said, “I doubt it. I’m going.”

In the past three decades, Congress has acted 25 times to keep the nation from exceeding its credit limit and defaulting its loans – a breaking point that is likely to dent the government’s creditworthiness, increase the cost of US borrowers, and turn the stock market into one Crisis would topple Tailspin. During that time, the debt ceiling has risen from around $ 4 trillion in the early 1990s to more than $ 28 trillion today.

The leaders of Congress reached an agreement in 2019 that lifted the debt ceiling through July 31. At that point, the Treasury Department could take so-called extraordinary measures to keep paying the government bills on time while lawmakers work out another deal.

However, the Treasury Department also warned last week that such measures could expire earlier than expected due to the pandemic-induced uncertainty about spending and revenue.

In a statement, Assistant Assistant Secretary for Federal Funding Brian Smith said, “It is very difficult to predict how long exceptional measures could take.”

“The Treasury Department is currently reviewing a number of potential scenarios, including some where exceptional measures could be exhausted much faster than previous episodes of debt limits,” he said.

Senator John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) Said it was still unclear whether enough Republican senators will be willing to hold the line this year to risk the government defaulting by calling for changes that line the trend Stop spending on red ink. And if they do, the Democrats say they won’t look into them.

“My preference for the debt ceiling is that we spend as little time and energy as possible,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

When the Republicans challenged Obama over the debt ceiling in 2011, the debate alone terrified the financial markets and prompted the S&P to downgrade the US credit rating for the first time in history.

“The last time the Republicans held the debt ceiling hostage, they almost crashed the world economy,” recalls Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “This is a page from the Obama-era economic sabotage game book, and I’m not going to let Republicans play with the economy for their political gain.”

And for the first time in 10 years, something is missing from the debate: a separate threat from the dreaded confiscation. Both parties had previously been involved in such tax negotiations because they wanted to agree on spending restrictions to prevent deep automatic cuts in both military and non-defense programs. But this fiscal specter was put to rest two years ago.

What is leading Republicans to vote for raising the debt ceiling – along with preventing an imminent budget catastrophe – is the potential for changes in Congressional spending practices, according to senior member of his party, Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) in the budget committee of the Senate. That could include lawmakers having to forego paychecks until they pass a budget each year, he said.

“We’re not going to be playing chicken here,” said Graham. “But I don’t think it’s asking too much to say: can we do some structural reforms? … I’m not asking to fix Medicare. “

As the problem worsens, some senators said they hadn’t considered it. Several senior senators said they were not sure how Congress would handle the problem.

“God, I haven’t even thought about that,” said Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), who was involved in infrastructure negotiations with the White House and met with Biden earlier this week.

Still, it’s not that he doesn’t think about debt: he questioned a reporter and an employee about the amount of debt and announced that the federal debt number was sent to him by text message every morning.

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