Sep 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans sink short-term government funding, debt limit bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Republicans on Monday voted down the House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: Congress is just 72 hours away from a potential shutdown, so now comes Democrats' Plan B. Democratic leadership is expected strip the short-term funding bill of language about raising the debt limit — the part that Republicans' reject — in order to pass a bill before federal agencies close down on Friday.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will vote for the "clean" continuing resolution if Democrats' move forward with that plan.
  • This bill is the top priority in Congress right now, despite also trying to get President Biden's dual infrastructure bills across the finish line by the end of this week.
  • The final vote was 48-50, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) changing his vote from Yes to No so he could later bring the bill back up for a vote. All Republicans voted against the bill as expected.

Between the lines: Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have made clear a government shutdown is not an option, so they'll get this done.

  • The bigger question now is how they're going to deal with raising the debt limit now that the continuing resolution is no longer an option.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the government will default on its debt sometime next month, and said doing so would "likely cause irreparable damage to the U.S. economy and global financial markets."
  • Given Republicans' refusal to vote for any legislation that would raise the debt ceiling, Democrats, namely leadership, will likely have to do what they've spent the last month vowing they wouldn't: deal with raising the debt limit through the partisan reconciliation process.

Go deeper: Shutdown Plan B

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