Senate votes to raise debt ceiling after 11 Republicans joined Democrats in breaking filibuster
After weeks of struggling on the brink, the Senate voted Thursday night to temporarily raise the debt ceiling by $ 480 billion until December 3.
The procedural move to break the obstruction of the GOP, which required 60 votes, was the first hurdle cleared, with a final tally of 61-38. At least 10 Republicans had to side with all Democrats to cross the hurdle and get to the final vote; 11 ultimately voted to advance the vote.
Democrats then raised the debt ceiling by a simple majority – 50-48. No Republican voted with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
Before the rise in debt reaches President Joe Biden’s office, it must also be passed by the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted in a letter Thursday night that the House may have to come back early from recess to vote on debt ceiling legislation. The House was due to return on October 19 – a day after Yellen warned lawmakers that the United States would default – so it is likely that they will have to return next week.
Republican leaders initially struggled to find 10 GOP votes to break the filibuster after weeks of messages to members that Democrats should go it alone.
But 11 Republicans ultimately voted to advance the debt ceiling vote. These were Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Maine Senator Susan Collins, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, United States Senator Ohio Rob Portman, South Dakota Senator John Thune, South Dakota Senator. Mike Rounds, Texas Senator John Cornyn, West Virginia Senator Shelly Moore Capito, and Wyoming Senator John Barrasso.
The first Republican Conference member to vote yes was Cornyn, who, after a long hiatus, gave the clerk a firm nudge.
Moments later, McConnell arrived on the pitch in a rare early appearance for the Minority Leader, who usually waits until later in the voting streak to vote. But on Thursday it was clear he was making his presence known.
McConnell strutted straight down the center aisle of the bedroom, and rather than giving a thumbs up, he gave a bellowing, affirmative “yes.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced earlier today that Democrats and Republicans have reached a deal to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt for the first time.
“We have reached an agreement to extend the debt ceiling until early December, and we hope to be able to do so today,” Schumer said Thursday morning, referring to a vote in the Senate.
McConnell followed Schumer and confirmed the deal was close to a vote – with the GOP leader taking credit for saving the American people from default and the Democrats from themselves.
“The Senate is heading towards the plan I presented last night to spare the American people from a fabricated crisis,” he said.
The deal to raise the debt ceiling by $ 480 billion gives the Treasury Department the borrowing authority it says is needed to bring the government through Dec. 3.
The deal with the Senate comes just over a week before October 18 – the date on which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen determined that the United States would no longer be able to cover its debts. December 3 is the expiration date of the interim financing bill needed by the government.
The deal also comes as Democrats continue to push through Biden’s broad domestic policy agenda, paving the way for a busy two months.
Some Republicans have privately expressed their frustration with McConnell, after for weeks following GOP messages that Democrats should raise the debt ceiling themselves.
“At the end of the day, we’ll be there,” said Thune, the Republican whip. “It will be a painful childbirth process.”
The real consequences of the US default could include delays in Social Security payments and checks to service members, a suspension of veterans’ benefits, and increased interest rates on credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.
After White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s response to McConnell’s offers on Wednesday, the White House appeared more receptive on Thursday, now that Democrats on the Hill have signaled their agreement.
“This is a positive step forward, the debt ceiling, the short term deal that we are seeing and it gives us some breathing space from the catastrophic default we were approaching due to Senator McConnell’s decision to do so. politics with our economy, “said deputy press secretary. Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Pressed by the change in tone, she said: “This is a temporary respite, but we are not going to give up until Senator McConnell stops obstructing and allows us to put this aside.” for real.
Jean-Pierre wouldn’t say if the White House would sign Democrats on to the start of the budget reconciliation process for a longer-term debt ceiling setting, given that they will now have more time to navigate the complicated process, but it is clear that a longer- term solution will be needed.
“We will defer to them for the process,” she said of Congressional Democrats, “But as the deal shows there isn’t, nothing prevents Congress from addressing the debt limit, through a regular order, which we asked for. “
Mariam Khan contributed to this report.