Senate GOP Filibusters Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling in Key Procedural Vote

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters following the weekly Senate lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., September 21, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

The Senate failed to pass a bill that would raise the federal debt ceiling and provide short-term funding to avoid a government shutdown, in a key procedural vote Monday evening.

All 50 Senate Republicans voted against the bill, with 48 Democrats voting in favor. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has called to decouple the measure to raise the debt ceiling from the funding of the federal government through December 6, 2021. Current funding allocated for the federal government expires Friday.

“We will support a clean continuing resolution that will prevent a government shutdown,” McConnell said Monday. “We will not provide Republican votes for raising the debt limit.”

McConnell explained in a speech on the Senate floor last week, “If [Democrats] want to tax, borrow, and spend historic sums of money without our input, they’ll have to raise the debt limit without our help. This is the reality. I’ve been saying this very clearly since July.”

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Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) referred to Republicans as the “party of default” in response to the vote on Monday.

“It’s one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes I’ve seen taken in the Senate, and it should send a signal to every family, small business, market watcher about who in this chamber is in favor of endangering the economic stability of our country,” Schumer said on the Senate floor following the vote.

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen urged Congress to raise or suspend the debt ceiling last week, saying that otherwise the U.S. could default on its financial obligations.

Congressional sparring over the debt ceiling and government funding comes while Democrats attempt to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, along with a budget resolution initially projected to be $3.5 trillion. Democrats are still attempting to negotiate the price tag and content of the budget resolution.

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