Senate Republicans block government funding bill in debt ceiling battle

By Kelsey Snell, Alana sage |
NPR
Monday, September 27, 2021

Updated September 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. ET

The government is on the verge of a partial shutdown after Senate Republicans blocked debate on a bill that would simultaneously have funded the government and suspended the country’s borrowing limit.

The bill, which required 60 votes to go forward, failed 48-50 as Republicans implemented a threat to block the spending measure over objections to a currently unrelated spending bill. being negotiated by the Democrats. The legislation would have extended current spending levels until December 3 and suspended the federal debt ceiling until the end of 2022.

“After today, there will be no doubt – no doubt – which party in this chamber is striving to solve the problems facing our country, and which party is accelerating us towards unnecessary and preventable catastrophe,” he said. Schumer said Monday at the hearing. afternoon. With the vote, he said the Republicans were officially “deliberately sabotaging our country’s ability to pay the bills and possibly causing the very first default in American history.”

Senate Republicans have said since at least July that they fully support the expansion of federal spending, but not the debt containment measure. Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Ignored Democrats’ argument that Republicans helped raise current debt levels when they authorized tax cuts under the former president Trump and supporting bipartisan COVID-19 relief spending.

“As we speak, Democrats are behind closed doors assembling a multibillion-dollar tax and reckless spending frenzy,” McConnell said Monday afternoon. “There is no way the Republicans will help raise the Democrats’ credit limit so they can immediately get through a socialist socialist frenzy that will hurt families and help China.”

Democrats must now decide whether they are willing to remove the debt limit provision in order to avoid a government shutdown. Current funding runs out late Thursday and lawmakers are also eager for other pieces of the bill, like money for communities affected by natural disasters and $ 6.3 billion in refugee aid. Afghans.

The debt limit has become a perpetual proxy struggle in Congress as lawmakers on both sides have tried to use compulsory voting to leverage unrelated political goals. While there have been instances where both parties have readily agreed to adjust the loan, this is not the first risky dead end on the loan.

Congress must raise the debt ceiling so that the federal government can continue to repay debt resulting from past spending or risk a federal default. Experts at Bipartisan Policy Institute think tank estimate that current borrowing authority will run out between October 15 and November 4, but the exact date is unclear.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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