Senate Republicans opposed legislation to prevent a government shutdown and prevent a loan default at a crucial moment for Democrats’ domestic agenda.
WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a spending bill needed to prevent a government shutdown this week and a federal loan default next month, pushing the country on the brink of a fiscal crisis as they urged Democrats to lift federal borrowing limits. refused permission.
With a Thursday deadline to fund the government – and the country moving closer to a catastrophic debt-limit breach – the impasse in the Senate has prompted a bid by Republicans to undermine President Biden and top Democrats at a crucial moment. reflected, as they labor to keep the government running and implementing an ambitious domestic agenda.
Republicans who voted to raise the debt cap by trillions if their party controls Washington argued on Monday that Democrats must now shoulder the entire political burden of doing so, given that they can’t afford the White House and Congress. controls both the houses.
His position was calculated to paint the Democrats as ineffective and overconfident at a time when they were already reeling from a $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate change bill to address deep party divisions. And were working hard to pave the way for a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure measure. Luck is related to this.
The package that was blocked on Monday, which also included emergency aid to support the resettlement and disaster recovery of Afghan refugees, would keep all government agencies funded until December 3 and extend the loan limit until the end of 2022. But after approval of the bill, the House fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate on Monday, with Democratic votes from just a week earlier.
The vote to extend the measure was 48 to 50. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, was among those who voted “no,” a procedural maneuver to allow the bill to be reconsidered at some point. But there were no immediate details about the next steps.
The resulting cloud of fiscal uncertainty marked another challenge for Mr Biden and Democratic leaders, who face a difficult set of tasks as they push to keep the government funded, for infrastructure bills. Let’s scrutinize the votes together – also slated for a vote Thursday – and resolve their disputes over the comprehensive budget plan. They should also devise a new strategy to raise the statutory limit on federal borrowing, which officials have said is on track to reach mid- to late October.
“It can’t happen until the end of the week – I expect it to be by the end of the week,” Biden said at the White House on Monday, referring to the approach Congress has to meet all of the imperatives. Referring to the four legislations, he said, “We do this, the country is going to be in great shape.”
Without any of them, Mr. Biden’s agenda and the fortunes of his party would be in jeopardy, a possibility the Republicans prefer.
Although both sides have voluntarily owed trillions of dollars in debt in recent years, Senate Republicans on Monday declined to vote for an increase in the debt cap as a qualified return to Democrats, who have lost their multitrillion-dollar debt cap. The GOP is pushing the opposition to introduce dollar domestic spending and taxes. Plan enhancement through Congress.
“We will not provide a Republican vote to raise the debt limit,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, reiterating a warning he had issued for months. He continued, “Bipartisanship is not a light switch – a light switch that Democrats get to flip when they need to borrow money and switch it off when they want to spend money.”
An increase in the debt limit is needed to finance borrowings that have occurred in the past under administrations from both sides – not to pay for plans that Mr Biden has not yet signed into law. And so far, there has been little access or talks to resolve the impasse.
Still, Mr McConnell sought to frame the vote as a test of Democrats’ ability, as he and other Republicans vowed to support a nearly identical temporary spending package without increasing the debt limit.
“We will see if Washington Democrats really want to rule,” McConnell said.
Democrats rejected that option, accusing Republicans of jeopardizing the nation’s absolute trust and credit. Mr Schumer said the vote meant “the Republican Party has now become the party of default, the party that says America does not pay its debts.”
“It’s not your typical Washington fracas,” he said, “it’s one of the most reckless votes, one of the most irresponsible votes I’ve seen in the Senate.”
Even as the spending measure eased, Democratic leaders worked to unify their caucuses behind the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Moderate Democrats agitated for a vote on that legislation this week, while liberal Democrats warned they would oppose it without first acting on a $3.5 trillion social policy and economic package.
“The bills are connected,” said Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota and a progressive. “And they must be combined in order for anything to pass the House.”
As the Senate spending measure stalled, California Speaker Nancy Pelosi grappled privately with Democrats to try to break the impasse. He, Mr Schumer and Mr Biden were due to speak later on Monday, according to an official on the plan.
Yet as of Monday evening, it was still unclear how Congress leaders would handle the urgent legislation to keep the government running. White House officials and Democratic congressional leaders have warned in recent weeks about the economic toll of delays in voting on debt limits.
“Playing the political game with so much on the line is as irresponsible as it is irrational,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the appropriations committee.
This is perhaps the most severe period of America’s debt crisis, with economists and analysts concerned that neither side will bow down before the stock market crash and the government will prioritize sending Social Security payments, food aid or aid to veterans and military spouses. unable to give. . NS latest launch The Bipartisan Policy Center, an independent think tank, estimates the Treasury Department will be short of cash to meet all of its obligations between October 15 and November 4.
The Democrats, who led President Donald J. Trump’s in office had helped raise the borrowing limit, expected at least 10 Republicans to abandon the harsh stance by merging the debt limit provision with badly needed money for their states and the stopgap government. Will put pressure funding bill. Now they will have to regroup or face a bandh by midnight on Thursday, the consequences of which they have vowed to avoid.
Some Democrats pointed to the breakdown as further evidence for their argument that it was time to change Senate rules to deprive minority parties of a key tool to block legislative action.
2 Democrat, Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin said, “It’s playing with fire for us to risk another damn filibuster taking the full faith and credit of the United States of America.” “As far as I’m concerned, the evidence is positive that filibuster doesn’t create bipartisanship, it creates hopeless partisan divisions.”
The legislation, which failed to go ahead on Monday, would have kept the government funded before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, giving lawmakers extra time to negotiate a dozen annual spending bills, and until December 16, 2022. Borrowing limit will be increased. Provided $6.3 billion to help resettle Afghan refugees to the United States and $28.6 billion to help rebuild communities from hurricanes, wildfires and other recent natural disasters.
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said, “It was so cynical of Senator Schumer to provide relief for disaster victims that he knew was not going to pass—taking advantage of their pain, taking advantage of the pain that he was in.” can easily.” , told reporters.
Democrats decided earlier this year to include a debt limit increase in their budget blueprints that could allow them to include it in a broader domestic policy legislation, which they will push through Congress using a budget process. pushing forward what is known as reconciliation which shields it from a filibuster. .
But doing so would prompt a politically fraught vote for his liberal allies, who are already besieged by advertisements on them to boost inflation by backing a massive plan to expand health care, public education and climate provisions. has been accused of.
Given the strict rules governing conciliation, attempting to do so at this point would be procedurally complicated and time-consuming. Democrats have been adamant that they will not do so.
Katie Edmondson Contributed reporting.