The proposal is shrouded in legislation that would postpone planned cuts to health insurance, farm aid and other mandatory spending programs that were due to come into effect next year. Once this bill becomes law, Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York would introduce separate legislation increasing the debt limit. This is expected to pass with only Democratic 50-50 votes in the Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris is empowered to sever ties.
“Democrats have always said we are ready to shoulder the 50-vote charge to make it happen, as long as it isn’t a convoluted or risky process,” Schumer said. “Leader McConnell and I have achieved this goal. “
Mr McConnell and 10 Republicans agreed in October to allow the Senate to increase the debt ceiling in the short term, which was ultimately passed by Democrats. But some of those senators – including Mr McConnell, in a scathing letter to Mr Biden – have warned that they will no longer accept.
But in November, Mr McConnell and Mr Schumer began quietly discussing alternatives.
“I have no doubts that this particular procedure, coupled with the avoidance of cuts to Medicare, will generate enough Republican support to cross the 60 vote threshold,” McConnell said, predicting a vote on Thursday. for the bill in the Senate.
That would require 10 Republicans to join Democrats in pushing the measure forward, a prospect Mr. McConnell discussed during a lunch with members of his party on Tuesday afternoon. Some Republicans questioned it, arguing that passing new legislation allowing for an accelerated increase in the debt ceiling would set a troubling new precedent.
West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she would have preferred her party members to agree to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling with a majority vote. “But we have recalcitrant members who won’t do that,” she conceded, adding that she had not decided how she would vote.
Mr McConnell and his allies have tried to persuade fellow Republicans that the provisions avoiding cuts to Medicare and other programs make the legislation useful. But that was not enough for the overwhelming majority of their Republican colleagues in the House.