Editor’s note: This article is being updated as new information becomes available.
GOP senators had a private party meeting Thursday afternoon, but still haven’t quite hammered out what the temporary debt ceiling deal should look like in order to allow it to pass, sans filibuster. Republicans still lack the ten votes required to move the bill beyond this procedural roadblock, even if all the Democrats and Independents play ball. Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has been trying to convince his more fiscally conservative members to sign off on the debt limit extension, but not all Republicans are on board with the plan, it seems.
“We’ve been trying to get them in a position where they can lift it on their own,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) explained. “The goal is to not have our fingerprints on lifting the debt ceiling,” he added.
Others are fine with pushing through the filibuster for a vote, but only so they can oppose it more directly. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) explained he didn’t mind a quick vote, but that he plans to “vote no on raising the debt limit.”
“Our hope is to get this done as soon as today,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explained Thursday afternoon. But there is some question now as to whether that goal is realistic. Once passed – if passed – this bill would temporarily extend the debt limit by $480 billion. That’s the estimated amount, based on current spending levels, required to get us through December 3 – the same day the current continuing resolution (CR) keeping the government afloat expires. Sen. Schumer filed for cloture on a bill that makes this happen, though the actual time of the vote is not yet known.
This limited increase rather than suspension restricts the Democrats’ ability to pass wildly controversial spending bills, and is aimed at “giving them time” to get their preferred bill – a complete suspension through December 2022 – passed by reconciliation. While many want to spin this as the GOP “caving” on the issue, Sen. McConnell maintains that this is simply to buy Democrats time to accomplish their goal on their own, without Republican support. If true – or, perhaps more importantly, if perceived to be true – this could remove the Democrats’ ability to successfully place the blame on the GOP should they choose not to pass a debt ceiling suspension by reconciliation. “All year the Democratic government ahs made unprecedented and repeated use of reconciliation to pass radical policies on party-line votes,” Sen. McConnell said Thursday. “So back in July Republicans informed our colleagues they would need to pursue any long-term increase in the debt ceiling through the same process.” That certainly seems a “you’ve made your bed, now you must sleep in it” sort of stance.
Procedurally speaking, this bill must still clear cloture, be voted upon by the full Senate, then move to the House to be accepted there, and – finally – sent off to the president to be signed into law. That takes time – just how much time remains to be seen.
Liberty Nation will keep you updated as this story develops.