Washington: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer on Tuesday night teed up a key vote on a deal struck with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to raise the debt ceiling with only Democratic votes.
Schumer moved to tee up a vote expected on Thursday, absent a deal to speed things up, on the bill that would prevent cuts to Medicare and green lights the Senate bypassing the legislative filibuster on a subsequent debt ceiling bill.
The deal was unveiled by congressional leaders earlier Tuesday and passed the House on Tuesday night with only one Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), supporting it.
To get the bill, which lays out the instructions for how separate debt ceiling legislation will be considered, through the Senate, Schumer will need the support of at least 10 GOP senators. After that bill passes, Democrats will then be able to pass a stand-alone bill on raising the debt ceiling with a simple majority, meaning they won’t need any GOP support.
McConnell, during a press conference with reporters, said that he was “confident” enough GOP senators would help advance the bill that sets up a one-time exemption for the filibuster on debt ceiling legislation.
GOP leaders view the deal as a win because it creates a fast-track process that forces Democrats to raise the debt ceiling to a specific number, similar to the budget reconciliation process that Republicans long pressured Democrats to use to raise the debt ceiling. But even some of the 11 GOP senators who previously helped advance a debt ceiling deal in early October have said they won’t support the current deal.
Sen. Ted Cruz warned that Republicans should do nothing that helps Democrats raise the debt ceiling.
Democrats have pointed out that the debt ceiling needs to be lifted to cover bills signed by both President Biden and former President Trump, and that Democrats provided votes to suspend the borrowing limit during the Trump years.