Senate Republicans block bill to avoid government shutdown and extend debt ceiling

WASHINGTON – The Senate failed on Monday to pass a key procedural vote to advance the House’s short-term government funding bill as the deadline to avoid a shutdown looms at the end of the week.

The Senate voted 48 to 50 on the procedural motion, with Republicans opposing the interim measure because it included an extension of the debt ceiling. Republicans have said they are unwilling to support raising the debt ceiling and are demanding Democrats take political pressure for the vote.

All Republicans voted in opposition and Democrats backed the measure, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passing his vote ‘no’ in a procedural move that allows him to call for another vote on the measure .

“This is one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes I have seen in the Senate, and it should send a signal to every family, small business, market watcher, who in this chamber is. in favor of endangering the economic stability of our country, ”Schumer told the Senate after the vote.

Schumer added: “We will take further steps to prevent this from happening this week.”

Even before the vote officially failed, Democrats had started to consider fallback options to prevent a shutdown. “If that doesn’t pass, we have to keep government open,” said Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md.

“Everyone should be concerned, but Maryland is a particularly vulnerable state. “

Lawmakers have until Friday to approve government funding or a shutdown will be triggered.

The Treasury Department said the debt limit would be exceeded in October if it was not lifted, warning of the consequences for the U.S. economy.

Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., Criticized Democrats for setting the debt ceiling on the government’s funding measure, which included aid to states like his that have been hit hard by natural disasters.

“I voted no once it became clear that he could not pass, if he had had a chance to pass I would have voted yes because I have to bring relief to my state”, said Cassidy said after the vote. “On the other hand, I think it was quite cynical of Senator Schumer to tie disaster relief to something he knew was not going to go through.”

Cassidy adds: “We need a clean CR [continuing resolution]. One without the debt ceiling. “

Separately, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah., Said that “Democrats can raise the debt ceiling on their own.” “

“So do it. Plain and simple,” he said.

The accumulated debt that necessitated the limit increase was not amassed by a single party, but Republicans link the increase to Democrats’ plan to allow billions of dollars in spending on safety net programs social.

Government spending legislation needs 60 votes to break a Senate obstruction, which means at least 10 Republicans are expected to break ranks.

“We will support a clean, ongoing resolution that prevents a government shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said before the vote. “We will not provide Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling.”

Republicans want Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in a separate bill, the massive, multi-trillion-dollar package they plan to vote on in a party line vote. Democrats refused, saying they would not set a precedent in which a single party is responsible for paying the country’s bills, which both parties have accumulated over many years.

“If the Republicans follow through on their plan to vote no, they will be willfully sabotaging our country’s ability to pay the bills and possibly causing the very first default in American history,” said Senate Majority Leader , Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said Monday, warning of “another recession” if that happens.

“So I want my Republican colleagues to think carefully about the practical consequences of what they are doing,” he said, warning that the government might not be able to send social security checks or provide checks. veteran benefits in this scenario.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schumer argued in a statement last week that an extension of the debt limit until December 2022 “would provide a time frame proportional to the debt incurred by the following the passage of last winter’s bipartisan $ 908 billion COVID emergency relief legislation, ”which they noted that many Republicans supported and then President Donald Trump , promulgated the law.

The bill also includes billions of dollars in disaster assistance for recent storms and wildfires, as well as money to help people evacuated after the United States withdrew from Afghanistan.

At the same time, the House is expected to vote on Thursday on an infrastructure bill that Progressive Democrats have threatened to block to maximize their influence over a separate multibillion-dollar package. The vote was originally scheduled for Monday.

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