Politics

‘Get Out Of The Way’: Schumer Announces Third Debt Limit Vote

Screenshot via CSPAN2

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Hours after threatening the Senate’s October recess, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a third vote to raise the debt ceiling and avert a federal default.

“I will soon file cloture on the House-passed proposal to suspend the debt limit until December of 2022,” he said during Monday floor remarks. Republicans have twice blocked legislation that would raise the debt ceiling, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on Democrats to use the budget reconciliation process to pass the increase without Republican help.

Schumer wrote Monday in a letter to Senate Democrats that “the Senate will likely be forced to remain in session over this weekend, and possibly through the recess,” to raise the debt ceiling. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has estimated that Congress must raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 18 to avoid a default, which could lead to a stock market crash, worldwide economic shocks and the pause of government benefits like Social Security.

Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin have all blamed Republicans for not voting with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. Other Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, have said that the party can raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. (RELATED: Top Democrat Admits Congress Can Raise Debt Limit Through Reconciliation. How Would It Work?)

Despite his ability to pass a debt ceiling increase with only 51 votes, Schumer blamed Republicans for not expediting the process, accusing them of “putting our country in serious, serious danger.”

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“They’ve gone so far as rejecting their own requests for how the debt ceiling should be raised. Their own requests. We’re putting those in action, they’re now saying no. Why do you think? Why do you think? Now the Republican leader has repeatedly stated that the Democrats must raise the debt ceiling on our own and he’s directly cited precedents of 2003, 2004, and 2006, when the Senate voted to race the debt ceiling by a majority vote. But what he conveniently and repeatedly ignores, he knows better, he ignores that in each of those examples, the minority allowed an up-or-down vote without a partisan filibuster. In other words, the other side said, ‘get us the 50 votes and we won’t make you get to 60,'” Schumer claimed.

“We aren’t asking Republicans to support it when it comes time for a vote. We only ask that they get out of the way so Democrats can pass it on our own, just as the majority party did in the early 2000s,” he added.

McConnell cited Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally in 2003, 2004 and 2006 on Monday in a letter to President Joe Biden. He objected to Schumer’s unanimous consent request to bring a debt ceiling bill to the floor on Sept. 28, arguing that granting the unanimous consent request would be equivalent to Republicans signing off on the legislation.