Debt-ceiling crisis averted – at least for now

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Despite many threats and objections, Democrats did not have votes to raise filibuster for bills related to debt limits.

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A failed vote to end a filibuster.

This is what Democrats needed if they wanted to change the Senate’s precedent on legislative strategy, specifically one involving raising debt limits.

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The Senate finally took a vote on Thursday to end a filibuster on legislation to raise the $480 billion debt limit. Eleven Republicans helped hit the magic 60-vote limit to stop the debate, and later, pass the bill.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky offered Democrats a deal to avoid a fiscal recession and debt-limit crisis.

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McConnell has told Democrats a lot about backing away from his plan to raise the debt limit on his own. One legend has it that McConnell was trying to salvage the Senate. He believed Democrats would use a likely, unsuccessful clotter vote to end the debt limit as a reason to change one of the Senate’s longest-held traditions: filibusters. The theory went that McConnell was a steward of the customs and traditions of the Senate. So he opted to replace Filebuster. In addition, getting rid of the filibuster would prevent Republicans from blocking any legislation.

“McConnell blinked,” said Sen. Chris Koons, D-Del. “I think Sen. McConnell took a hard look at the risk he was posing for Filibuster and decided he would step aside and let us move on.”

It had been grumbling for days that Democrats might attempt a “nuclear option” to retain the Senate’s filibuster provisions through a simple majority vote, and create a special carve for filibuster related debt limit bills. Huh.

never voted

But as we say, it’s about the math. It is about math. It is about math.

Despite lots of threats and objections, Democrats didn’t have votes to raise filibuster for bills related to debt limits.

On Tuesday night, President Biden indicated that it was a “real possibility” that Senate Democrats could try to replace the filibuster by lifting the debt limit.

Changes to the Senate filibuster process would require the Senate to vote for all 50 Democrats — plus, the Senate’s president, Vice President Harris. But it’s clear that Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.VA, was never willing to cast his vote to replace Filbuster. What the status of San Kirsten Cinema, D-Ariz., remained a deep mystery.

When asked about changing the Senate’s provisions to cut off the debate, on Wednesday, Munchkin said “forget the filibuster”.

“I don’t know what some people’s wishes were, thinking it could happen. It was never going to happen.”

–U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.VA.

On Thursday, Manchin reiterated that there was no way to support a filibuster change to the debt limit. The whole suggestion was a misnomer.

“It wasn’t going to happen,” Munchkin told Granthshala News’ Jason Donner. “I don’t know what some people’s wishes were, thinking it could happen. It was never going to happen.”

That’s why McConnell got into trouble selling the new debt limit agreement to Republicans. The “changing filibusters” argument doesn’t hold much water.

“I’m shocked,” says Sen. Lindsey Graham of McConnell’s Gambling, R.C. he said. “We blinked. And why? Because two guys. I don’t know if they mean more or are threatening to change Senate rules if we make it difficult. I’m not going to live that way.”

“I’m stunned. We blinked. And why? Because two people.”

— US Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C.

But the filibuster persists. And, any spin that the filibuster was the reason McConnell gave it remains. The votes were not there.

‘Nuclear option’?

Here’s the arsenal needed to replace a filibuster in the Senate: a failed procedural vote, known as a clotted vote, to end a filibuster. Democrats would have had a Wednesday if they went ahead with a cloture vote on the debt limit bill. If you have a failed clotter vote, you can potentially launch a “nuclear option” to bypass a filebuster. Democrats could then pass the debt ceiling bill with a simple majority.

Unlimited debate is a feature of the Senate – except when it is nullified by a cloister vote. In addition, one of the few things that is not up for debate in the Senate is the “reconsideration” of the failed procedural vote. In other words, re-polling on the same thing that failed.

it’s important. A failed procedural vote would be necessary to specifically prepare for bills relating to debt limits. A potential carve-out would take measures to deal with the suspension or lifting of exempt loan limits from filibusters. Democrats could then raise the debt limit on their own.

However, Democrats needed at least 51 votes to set this new precedent for bills related to debt limits. All 50 Democrats (actually, 48 Democrats and two sympathetic independents) would have to stick together and Harris would have to break the tie.

It’s the vaunted “nuclear option”. The Senate ignites a nuclear option by presenting a question to a Senate MP. In layman’s terms, the inquiry might go something like this: “Isn’t it the precedent of the Senate that it takes a simple majority to clear a filibuster on a bill related to debt limits, compared to 60 years?”

Senators stuck

The answer to the question is no. But, because the Senate is mired in a parliamentary cul-de-sac, without allowing a debate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., may make a point on the floor that it Is The Senate position requires only 51 votes to end a filibuster on a debt ceiling bill, not 60. This forces a Senate vote to overturn the MP’s decision that the 60-vote limit applies in these cases. A simple majority of 51 years is required to climb the head of an MP.

And, if the Democrats envisaged Were 51 years on, they could have lowered the bar to eliminate filibusters in these instances.

These mechanics follow new precedents established with Nuclear Option I in 2013 and Nuclear Option II in 2017. The first nuclear option lowered the threshold for executive branch nominees to break a filibuster by a simple majority. The second nuclear option did the same for filibusters of Supreme Court judges.

The Senate would have found itself in the same parliamentary posture as nuclear options I and II if the failed cloture vote on Wednesday.

Also, note that there is a nuclear option No Change in Senate rules It’s change in Senate example. The Senate does most of its work by precedent as compared to the body’s official rules. And, it’s easier to set a new precedent in the Senate for a filibuster (via the nuclear option) than to update Senate rules.

slippery slope

However, there is a bigger issue going on here:

Nuclear Options I and II cut open Pandora’s box to replace the Senate forever with the filibuster.

But a move to replace the filibuster on the debt limit is unique compared to previous nuclear action in the Senate.

If the Senate made a special carving out for the debt limit, that would be the first attempt at changing the filibuster provisions. Legislation. Previous Filebuster changes specifically dealt with Enrollment.

Thus, the slippery slope begins.

Where will the filibuster changes stop? Special Carving for Immigration Reform? DC statehood? Guns? voting rights? Democrats Can Definitely Move On Any Bills – as long as they have at least 51 votes to end a filibuster.

There is a lot of danger in this bet for the Democrats.

If Democrats deploy a nuclear option on debt limits or anything else and lose the Senate in the mid-2022, Republicans will sideline the Democrats to undo a vast swath of their agenda. Democrats, then in a minority, would be powerless to stop the GOP. Democrats could not film. Republicans could then approve virtually any piece of legislation — and with a simple, majority vote, many of the Democrats’ policies could be unraveled.

Hence the debt limit crisis is in limbo. And nuclear option III is off the table.

for now.


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