Summary: Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agree to a procedural maneuver to raise the debt ceiling and forgo the filibuster.
It appears many Republicans across the country are all up-in-arms about a procedural maneuver Senator Mitch McConnell is trying to pull if only ten (10) Republican senators will agree to his plan.
Here is what I understand:
On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, the House did two things:
First, it passed Senate bill (S.) 1605 – “The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022”, and
Second, it passed S. 610 – “Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act.”
The up-in-arms part is about Section 8 within S.610.
This bill is ostensibly about Medicare cuts at scheduled intervals. Nevertheless Section 8 therein is headed, “Expedited Procedures for Considering an Increase in the Debt Limit.” Under these procedures, among other things:
- Senator Schumer is allowed to introduce a” joint resolution” on behalf of both the Democrat and Republican Senators to increase the debt ceiling;
- The amount of the debt ceiling increase is to be decided later;
- Use of the filibuster under Rule 22 is waived for increasing the debt ceiling;
- After only 10 hours of debate, a vote will be taken on the joint resolution raising the debt ceiling;
- The joint resolution cannot be modified or amended; and
- The joint resolution must be passed no later than January 16, 2022.
So why would Senator McConnell agree to this?
Senator McConnell is purported to have stated that he approved the extraordinary process because it meets the criteria he set out months ago: forcing the Democrats to raise the debt limit on their own, and to increase it by a specific amount rather than suspend it for a period of time — a combination that Republicans see as ammunition for continued midterm campaign attacks slamming Democrats for their spending. “The red line is intact,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.”
Yuval Rosenberg, A Republican Rift Over Raising the Debt Ceiling, The Fiscal Times, December 8, 2021.
Senator McConnell thinks he can get at least ten (10) Senator Republicans to cross the aisle and vote with the Democrats on passage of S.610, but others aren’t so sure.
“I don’t think Republicans should be facilitating adding trillions in debt,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, according to Politico. And all but one House Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted against the procedural bill. "Make no mistake. This debt ceiling is being lifted to pay for trillions of wasteful socialist spending," charged Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).
Other responses from Senate Republicans include:
- Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) stated, “We ought to keep our word with the base.”
- Rick Scott(R-Fla.) stated, “I’m not supporting any raising the debt ceiling.”
- Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) stated, “I’m gonna have to think it through.”
- Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) stated, “It may be as good as we could do. It’s easier to second guess the leaders than it is to actually be one … I’m not going to do that.”
(From the Political Playbook Daily Briefing, EP 1259, December 8, 2021 - “The Least Bad Deal”)
And, also from the Political Playbook Daily Briefing –
McConnell took a stand — that Democrats should use reconciliation — then backpedaled and paved the way for them. In the process, he cleared the decks for Schumer and the Democrats to focus on passing Build Back Better before Christmas — and created a new precedent for bypassing the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling. (While the law is only “temporary,” what’s been done once can — and likely will — be done again.)
To be perfectly honest, I don’t understand why Senator McConnell agreed to this. Do you?
I hope this is of value!