September 22, 2021

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As the GOP faces the debt ceiling, Democrats try to put McConnell to shame

The last time the problem surfaced, in August 2019, Congress and President Donald J. Trump suspended the debt ceiling until July 31 of this year. On August 2, the Treasury restored the debt limit to $ 28.4 trillion and the government passed it a few days later, less than seven months after President Biden took office.

Second, an increase in the debt ceiling will almost certainly require at least the consent of Senate Republicans to overcome an obstacle and get a vote. McConnell would like the Democrats to add a debt ceiling increase to the social policy bill, which is being drafted under budget rules that would allow the Senate to pass by 51 votes.

But the Democrats said weeks ago they wouldn’t. Given the difficulty of reaching an almost unanimous democratic agreement on the measure – and a series of procedural obstacles they would have to overcome – it would most likely be impossible to get to the plans of the House and Senate in time to avoid a fault.

Democrats say they have helped Trump and Republican leaders meet the debt limit and that fairness now dictates bipartisanship, especially on such a big issue. Hence the campaign of shame.

If Senator McConnell and the Senate Republicans choose to default to avoid paying the debts they helped build under President Trump, it will devastate the economy and irreparably discredit the financial situation of our country, their party and theirs. themselves, ”said Justin Goodman, spokesman for Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, on Wednesday. “Senator McConnell will become the first person in history to force a default, and every American will know that the Republicans in the Senate are to blame.”

Mr. McConnell is not the only target of the Democrats; they say other Senate Republicans, such as Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, understand what’s at stake. Democratic leaders are likely to tie a debt ceiling increase to an emergency spending bill that includes funding for Hurricane Ida reconstruction, forest fire management and resettlement of Afghan refugees; they will then challenge Republican senators from Louisiana, Idaho and Montana and other interested lawmakers to vote no later than this month.

Reputation aside, Mr. McConnell has already lost. In 2015, the Senate rejected his categorical opposition to reducing the federal government after September. 11 monitoring of US phone records. He promised this year to oppose a Senate organizational resolution to give Democrats control of the chamber unless the new majority promises to protect the legislative obstruction. Then he blinked.

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