Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling into December 2022 and keep the government operating past Sept. 30. The 48-50 largely party-line vote fell well short of the 60 needed to advance the House-passed legislation to the floor.
“Republicans would let the country default for the first time in history,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “It’s one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes I have seen taken in the Senate.” Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats have known for 10 weeks that Republicans wouldn’t provide them the votes to raise the debt cap, and that the crisis is a manufactured one.
“Let me make it abundantly clear one more time: We will support a clean continuing resolution that will prevent a government shutdown,” McConnell said on Monday, according to CNN. “We will not provide Republican votes for raising the debt limit.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly stepped into the fray. She has made direct appeals to lawmakers. “It is imperative that Congress swiftly addresses the debt limit. If it does not, America would default for the first time in history,” Yellen will tell a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday, according to her prepared testimony. “The full faith and credit of the United States would be impaired, and our country would likely face a financial crisis and economic recession.”
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) dismissed the idea of going through a convoluted reconciliation exercise to raise the debt limit, and predicted Republicans would eventually allow the debt limit to go up. “They’ll have that on their hands,” Van Hollen said of a debt limit crisis. “It’s going to be pretty obvious to the American public after we vote on this a couple of times between now and then that they’re tanking the economy.”