(Trends Wide) — Congress is nearing the mid-October deadline to raise the national debt cap, but Democrats and Republicans are stuck on the issue without a clear resolution and the clock is ticking.
The debt ceiling, also known as the “debt ceiling,” is exactly what it sounds like: the maximum that the federal government can borrow. Why is there a maximum? Because Congress set a cap more than a century ago to restrict government borrowing, but instead of sticking to it, it has continued to raise its cap each time it is reached.
Democrats want Republicans to join them in a bipartisan vote to suspend the debt limit, but Republicans insist they will not and have asked Democrats to act on their own to address the problem. With control of both the houses of Congress and the White House, Democrats face increasing pressure to act alone, but so far they have not committed to that course of action and are still trying to force Republicans to vote. on the subject, even if those votes are destined to fail.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats that a vote on raising the debt limit could come Tuesday, a source at the Democratic caucus meeting told Trends Wide. Pelosi noted during the same meeting that Democrats will unlink the interim funding bill known as an ongoing resolution to fund the government from the provision to increase the debt ceiling, according to a source at the meeting.
This measure could prevent a government shutdown because Republicans have said they will not vote on the interim bill if it includes the debt cap provision. Government funding is scheduled to run out at midnight ET Thursday night. However, the debt limit problem may not be solved.
Pelosi told reporters after the meeting that “it is among our plans” for Democrats to move a clean debt bill on Tuesday.
“We have several things: lift the debt ceiling, keep the government open, we have to do them imminently,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a request for unanimous consent to hold a vote to suspend the debt limit with a simple majority threshold. However, the vote was blocked by Republicans who said they did not want to make it easier for Democrats to pass the politically sensitive measure.
“We’ve given Republicans what they want,” Schumer said, referring to how Republicans have asked Democrats to act on the issue on their own. “We are just asking the Republicans to get out of the way.”
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed the request.
“There is no chance that the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume the onslaught of partisan socialism as quickly as possible,” he said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned lawmakers that the federal government will likely run out of cash and extraordinary measures by Oct. 18 unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, a new estimate that highlights how states The United States could default on its debt in a matter of weeks if Washington does not act. A default would likely be catastrophic, crashing markets and the economy, and delaying payments to millions of Americans.
Congressional Democrats initially tried to pass legislation that would address both fiscal issues, the debt cap and government funding, at the same time. The bill passed the House last week, but Senate Republicans blocked the measure on Monday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday that the use of reconciliation – a process that could allow Democrats to lift the debt ceiling without Republican votes – is an option on the table, but He also said Democrats can try to pass a clean bill to address the debt cap.
“It is not an alternative not to endorse America’s full faith and credit, so we may have to use reconciliation. I think that would be a sad statement of Republican irresponsibility,” said Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland. “Reconciliation is an option and it’s on the table. There are other options on the table as well and that is giving you back a clean bill that can move relatively quickly in the hope that maybe hopefully some Republicans, at least 10 Republicans, decide that the full faith and credit of the United States of America is more important than obtaining a political advantage. “
Recognizing that reconciliation could be used as an option to address the debt cap, Hoyer went further than many top Democrats have done in recent days. The statements also disagreed with some comments from other lawmakers from his party.
Senate Democrat Dick Durbin on Tuesday rejected the idea that Democrats would use reconciliation to increase the debt limit, calling it “non-initial,” and questioned the idea of Senate Republican leaders that it could be a quick process for Democrats to raise the debt limit themselves using the budget tool.
In a clarification of his previous comments, Hoyer later tweeted that reconciliation “is not the best option, nor is it the option we are looking for” to address the debt ceiling.
Democratic House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries said Democrats are still weighing options on how they will raise the debt ceiling if they do in fact part ways with the continuing resolution to fund the government.
“I think we had a discussion, as the speaker may have indicated, that was quite extensive about some different options that we have before us in terms of the debt limit. We are not going to default with the full faith and credit of the United States of America. That’s a covered guarantee, “said Jeffries, a Democrat from New York.
Trends Wide’s Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, Matt Egan and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.