by Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON (AP) – In a bid to clear the Republican hurdle, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Democrats are considering changes to Senate filibuster rules to quickly lift the nation’s debt limit and avoid a catastrophic credit default. get approval quickly.
The president’s surprising remarks come as the Senate is embroiled in a seemingly dangerous impasse over a vote that would allow the country to suspend its debt limit and allow the federal government to continue borrowing to pay off its balance. Congress has only a few days to act before the October 18 deadline when the Treasury Department warned it would lack funds to handle the country’s already accrued debt load.
Biden has opposed any film rule changes on other issues, but his off-the-cuff comments on Tuesday night sparked a new urgency for the increasingly precarious situation.
“It’s a real possibility,” Biden told reporters outside the White House.
Getting rid of the filibuster rule would reduce the usual limit of 60 votes to 50. In a 50-50 split in the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie, allowing Democrats to overtake Republicans.
The topic was discussed during a private Democratic Senate lunch session on Tuesday as senators were angered by Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow a simple vote on the debt ceiling. Instead, McConnell is forcing Democrats to do what they see as a cumbersome process that, if not weeks, will eat into their agenda.
With Republicans barricading for the vote, Democratic senators are discussing several options — including scrapping the chamber’s filibuster rules.
But implementing a filibuster rules change seems unlikely, as all Democratic senators would have to be on board.
In his weekly press conference, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., did not approve — or reject — the idea of replacing the filibuster for this one specific issue.
Instead, Schumer simply reiterated what he, Biden and others have said – that Republicans should “get out of the way” and allow Democrats to pass a measure that has already been approved and sent from the House. Is.
“The best way to accomplish this is for Republicans to go out of the way,” Schumer said.
He said the burden of standing aside is on McConnell’s shoulders.
McConnell, however, wants to force Democrats to use a process that gives Republicans enough time to remind voters about the unpopular vote.
Dug on Tuesday, McConnell refused to budge.
McConnell said of the Democrats, “they have plenty of time to execute the debt ceiling increase.” “They need to do this – and the sooner they understand about it, the better.”
Once a routine affair, raising debt limits over the past decade or more has become politically treacherous, used by Republicans, in particular, to rail against government spending and rising debt loads, now At $28 trillion.
The fact is that both sides have contributed to the debt and the country has been running at a deficit for most of the decades.
The filibuster has been up for debate throughout the year, as Biden and his allies consider ways to work around Republican opposition for much of their agenda.
Biden has not endorsed earlier calls for an end to filibuster for other topics — namely changes to voting law. But Tuesday’s comments could signal a new phase.
At least one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., seemed resistant Tuesday. He and Sen. Kirsten Cinema, D-Ariz., have objected to the ending of Filibuster this year on other topics.
The impasse over the debt limit that began weeks ago as a routine political skirmish is now entering more serious territory, as senators risk a rare federal default if no agreement is reached.
It could precipitate a widespread financial crisis not only through government and financial markets, but also the general economy and the lives of Americans.