- Democrats are running out of time and options to address the impending debt ceiling deadline.
- The White House on Tuesday, confirmed Biden is opposed to changing the filibuster to increase the limit.
- Changing the Senate procedural rule would require all 50 Democrats and Kamala Harris’ support.
Not even the threat of an impending US recession can change President Joe Biden’s mind when it comes to the filibuster.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Tuesday that the president has not altered his stance on the oft-debated Senate procedure. Biden still opposes changing the rules, even to pass a bill that raises or suspends the debt ceiling.
The president’s renewed opposition comes as Democrats face their toughest week in Congress since Biden’s inauguration. The party is running out of time and options to address the approaching deadline on the country’s debt ceiling and stopgap funding, while Republicans actively torpedo their attempts.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday warned that her agency could run out of money by mid-October, sending the US economy into chaos and triggering a default on the government’s debt.
Democrats’ attempts to deal with the limit thus far have all been blocked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s GOP. He has repeatedly said that Democrats should raise the ceiling alone, without his party’s help, all the while, voting against their efforts to do so.
Last week, the House passed a bill aimed at funding the government past September 30, which included a provision that would increase the limit on how much the US can borrow to pay its bills, but the measure failed in the Senate on Monday, when the bill failed to clear the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold to end debate.
Then, on Tuesday, Democrats tried to pass a debt ceiling increase by a simple majority vote through unanimous consent, but McConnell blocked their attempt to do so, yet again, further pushing the country toward default.
Bills that raise or suspend the debt ceiling are currently subject to filibuster rules in the Senate, but a remaining option for desperate Democrats could be to change the rules of the procedure so that a relevant bill would no longer be beholden to the 60-vote threshold. Lawmakers throughout history have made similar adjustments to confirm judicial nominees and cabinet officials.
But doing so would require all 50 Senate Democrats’ support, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris’ seal of approval, meaning Biden’s reaffirmed opposition to doing so almost certainly renders the possibility a non-option.
According to Politico, Biden has conferred with Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer regarding the party’s approach to the approaching deadline, but is publicly deferring to Congress on how to avoid the crisis.
The outlet reported that on Monday, Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden discussed possibly raising the debt limit through budget reconciliation, which White House officials had been hoping to avoid.