Schumer asked the Senate to unanimously agree to lower the voting limit to 50 votes.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., on Tuesday afternoon with a simple majority vote to bypass a GOP filibuster and raise the debt limit.
Schumer unanimously sought Senate consent to lower the voting limit to 50 votes for a standalone debt ceiling bill. McConnell objected to Schumer’s request, thwarting the effort and forcing Democratic leaders to seek another way to raise the threshold without Republican support.
“The Democratic leader knew this request would fail,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “There is no chance that the Republican convention will go out of our way to help Democrats save their time and energy so that they can reemerge through partisan socialism as quickly as possible.”
McConnell’s move came after other Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said they would object to the request.
“There’s no universe in which I’m going to agree to lower the threshold and make it easier for him to do that. That’s playing the game,” Cruz told reporters. “He knows he’s playing the game. The games aren’t going to work.”
US debt limit could be reached by mid-October, suggests analysis
Earlier this week, Republicans halted debate over legislation that bundled stopgap government funding and a debt-limit increase with hurricane relief. Top Republicans say they will not vote to raise the debt limit, arguing that openly the suspension would facilitate partisan spending proposals favored by Democrats.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin said the US would run out of money to meet its debt obligations by October 18 if the debt cap is not lifted.
GOP lawmakers are trying to force Democrats to add language suspending borrowing limits to President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill. Passing a debt limit measure like this through budget reconciliation would require Democrats to set a specific number for the increase.
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Schumer and other Democrats have indicated that they do not see passing the debt limit increase through the conciliation process as an option.
“Going through a reconciliation is risky for the country and a non-starter,” Schumer told a news conference.