Democrats propose spending bill that would raise the debt ceiling, sparking a clash with Republicans
The House is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that will keep the government funded through early December, lift the cap on federal loans through the end of 2022, and provide about $35 billion in emergency funding for Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery, setting up a clash. with Republicans warning that they will oppose the measure.
The bill, which Democrats released just hours before a scheduled vote on Tuesday, is needed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires next week and to prevent the first-ever debt default when the Treasury Department goes on to say. reaches the limit of its borrowing authority within a few weeks. But it has become entangled in partisan politics, with Republicans refusing to allow a debt ceiling at a time when Democrats control Congress and the White House.
By linking the increase in the debt cap to the spending package, Democrats hoped to pressure Republicans to drop their opposition. But few, if any, Republicans are expected to support it.
And the prospects for a 50-50 Senate passage seemed bleak amid widespread opposition from Republicans, who have said they will neither vote for the legislation nor allow it to pass in the chamber, where 60 votes are needed. to get ahead.
The legislation would extend government funding through December 3, giving lawmakers more time to negotiate the 12 annual spending bills, which would otherwise be on track to expire when the new fiscal year begins October 1. The package would also raise $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
“It is critical that Congress quickly passes this legislation to support essential education, health, housing and public safety programs and provide emergency relief to disaster survivors and Afghan evacuees,” said Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro, the president of the United Nations. the credit committee.
But Democratic leaders’ decision to tie it to legislation lifting the federal debt cap until December 16, 2022 could ultimately jeopardize a typically routine attempt to avoid a government shutdown, raising the threat of fiscal disaster.
Led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, Republicans have been warning for weeks that they had no intention of helping Democrats raise the cap on the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow. While the debt was incurred with the approval of both parties, Mr. McConnell has repeatedly pointed to Democrats’ efforts to get multi-trillion dollar bills into law over the Republican opposition.
Democrats, who joined Republicans during the Trump administration to raise the debt ceiling, have argued that the GOP is setting a double standard that threatens to sabotage the economy. Should the government default on its debt for the first time, it would trigger a financial crisis, shake confidence in US creditworthiness and shrink the stock market.