WASHINGTON — Although the Senate will vote on Monday on the House-passed funding bill, its fate is still uncertain as Republicans threaten to block it.
Lawmakers still have time to approve funding for government, or the shutdown will occur. The sticking point is the inclusion in the funding bill of a debt ceiling hike. Republicans claim they are unable to support it and demand that Democrats take the political heat.
The Treasury Department stated that the debt limit would be breached in October if not lifted. This could cause disruption to the U.S. The economy.
The accumulated debt that has necessitated raising this limit has not been amassed solely by one party. However, Republicans are tying it to the Democrats’ plan for trillions in spending on social security net programs.
The government spending legislation needs 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate, meaning at least 10 Republicans would have to break ranks. Only one GOP senator, John Kennedy of Louisiana, has indicated that he will vote for the bill, citing his state’s need for disaster aid funding.
Republicans would like Democrats to raise the limit on the nation’s debt in a separate bill. This is the multitrillion dollar package they intend to pass by a party-line vote. Democrats refused to do so, stating that they will not set a precedent where only one party is responsible in paying the country’s bills. This has been done over many years by both parties.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer argued in a statement last week that a debt limit extension through December 2022 “would provide an amount of time commensurate with the debt incurred as a result of passing last winter’s bipartisan $908 billion emergency COVID relief legislation,” which they noted that numerous Republicans supported and then-President Donald Trump signed into law. The bill also provides billions in disaster relief for recent wildfires and storms as well as financial assistance to evacuees following the U.S. withdrawal.
The House is expected to vote on Thursday. This bill is an infrastructure bill, which progressive Democrats threatened to block in order to increase their leverage over a multitrillion dollar package. Originally, the vote was scheduled for Monday.