True to their word, Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat bill that aimed to suspend the debt limit. Without the necessary budget to operate, the lack of a new bill pushes the federal government closer to a shutdown.
Senators Toe Their Party’s Line
During the Senate session, senators voted on a procedural motion to advance the legislation. The bill to suspend the debt limit needs 60 votes to succeed.
However, Democrats control only 50 seats in the chamber. As a result, they will need at least 10 Senate Republican votes to vote with them to approve the bill.
Instead, the bill failed as each Senator toed his party’s line, with Democrats ending 10 votes short. As a result, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) switched his vote from a “Yes” to a “No” to get the chance to bring up the bill again.
Senate Republicans Want Democrats To Take Care of Their Problem Themselves
The decision to block the bill from moving forward came as the federal government funding is set to run out by September 30. A bill to provide stopgap measures received approval from the House.
Senate approval would have meant that the government would have extended funding until December 3. However, Senate Republicans objected to the Democrats’ proposal of a debt limit suspension until December 16, 2022.
Instead, the GOP said that the Democrats can act on their own to solve the debt limit problem. However, Congress now lacks a contingency plan to keep the government operating.
Without funds, the federal government can shut down starting next week. In addition, Congress only has until mid-October to address the debt limit. Otherwise, the federal government won’t have the power to pay its bills.
Democrats Scrambling To Come Up With Plan B
With the Senate failing to live up to their end, House Democrats now need to come up with a Plan B. With only two days remaining before the deadline, Democratic leaders have yet to say if they have something up their sleeves.
Meanwhile, Schumer promised “further action” this week to prevent a shutdown. However, he did not provide details on any concrete plans.
“Keeping the government open and preventing a default is vital to our country’s future and we’ll be taking further action to prevent this from happening this week,” he said.
Consequently, both Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took a call with President Joe Biden to discuss contingency measures and avert a shutdown.
Stopgap Bill Only
One possibility is for Democrats to submit a revised bill that includes stopgap measures but not the debt ceiling suspension. Senate Republicans earlier indicated that they would support a stopgap-only bill.
In addition, Democrats have options to raise the debt limit on their own to prevent the US from defaulting on its debts. However, they want the action to be a bipartisan activity.
Schumer criticized Senate Republicans ahead of the vote. He said that “after today there will be no doubt about which party in this chamber is working to solve the problems that face our country, and which party is accelerating us towards unnecessary, avoidable disaster.”
Watch the CNBC Television video reporting that Senate Republicans block bill to fund the government, shutdown looms:
Do you support Senate Republicans who blocked the Democrat-backed bill that included debt limit suspension with the stopgap measures?
Do you agree that the Democrats should take care of the problem themselves without involving the Republicans?
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