As Senate Democrats try to avoid a catastrophic government shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is doing everything in his power to sabotage the effort.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D_NY) tried to get an agreement to set up a simple-majority vote on a bill to suspend the nation’s borrowing limit, which would bypass the filibuster and let Democrats raise it without GOP support. But McConnell blocked Schumer’s effort to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster.
“Simply allow for a simple-majority threshold to raise the debt ceiling and avoid this needless catastrophe that Republicans have steered us toward,” Schumer said, The Hill reports.
“We’re just asking Republicans to get out of the way. Get out of the way, when you are risking the full faith and credit of the United States to play a nasty political game,” he added.
Under the Senate’s rules, any one senator can try to set up a vote, but any one senator can also object and block that request.
McConnell shut down Schumer’s request, arguing that Republicans wouldn’t help Democrats raise the debt ceiling outside of reconciliation, the budget process Democrats are using to try to pass a sweeping social spending bill.
“There is no chance, no chance the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible,” McConnell McConnell said, according to The Hill.
The back-and-forth on the Senate floor comes as lawmakers are at a stalemate over how to raise the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that they will need to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 18 or risk a default.
Schumer said earlier Tuesday that he would try to get an agreement, pointing out that McConnell, during his own floor speeches, had noted Republicans had voted to raise the debt ceiling during the George W. Bush administration without Democratic support. But at the time Democrats hadn’t filibustered the bill, allowing Republicans to pass it by a simple majority.