Senate GOP blocks Democratic bill to fund government, raise debt ceiling

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Senate Republicans Say They Wouldn’t Support Democratic Efforts to Raise Debt Limits

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Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat-backed bill to fund the government and raise the debt limit on Monday, leaving Democratic leaders just days away to prevent a government shutdown and a possible default on US debt obligations.

The stopgap bill, which would have funded the government until December 3, suspended debt limits and funds directed to hurricane relief, fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to stave off the Republican filibuster. Government funding ends at midnight on Thursday.

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Senate Republicans indicated before the vote that they would not support Democratic efforts to raise the debt limit. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., took a jibe at his Republican allies in a floor speech before the vote.

“If Republicans follow through with their plans to vote ‘no,’ they will deliberately sabotage our nation’s ability to pay the bills and cause defaults for the first time in American history,” Schumer said.

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The vote kicked off a busy week on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are also set to vote on President Biden’s sweeping $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. Senate Republicans have argued that any attempt to raise the borrowing limit would pave the way for Democrats to implement costly proposals that would add to the national debt. Schumer sought to pressure Republicans to drop their opposition by tying the issue of debt limits to the vote on government funding.

Democratic leaders have yet to indicate how they will proceed after the failed vote. Senate Democrats may introduce a standalone bill addressing government funding and hurricane relief while postponing consideration of debt limits. Language addressing the debt ceiling may also be included in the budget resolution package.

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The Treasury has warned that the money will run out as soon as next month, raising the possibility that the US could default on upcoming payments. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin has warned that a failure to raise the debt limit would have disastrous consequences that could plunge the country into another recession and destabilize global markets.

Prior to the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged the chamber to remove the debt limit provision from the law and vote entirely on government funding and hurricane relief. Democratic lawmakers blocked that initiative.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. reprimanded Schumer for her handling of the situation in a floor speech.

“Sen. McConnell’s law does everything except one thing, raises the debt ceiling, which Sen. Schumer can do on his own in a matter of days. Why are we fighting over this? Nature hates a fool.” It’s foolish of us. This fight will happen when it can be resolved so easily.”


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