Senate leaders said earlier today they have reached a short-term deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by $480 billion through Dec. 3, which is also when government funding is set to expire.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the agreement on the Senate floor this morning, noting that lawmakers “hope we can get this done as soon as today,” though a vote could potentially slip to this weekend.
Senate Democrats would need help from at least 10 Republican senators to pass the deal today, though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he would not stand in the way of passage. His primary argument, however – that Democrats should own their own spending agenda and address the debt ceiling in December through the reconciliation process without Republican votes – still stands.
“To protect the American people from a near-term, Democrat-created crisis, we will also allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December,” McConnell said. “This will moot Democrats’ excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt limit legislation through reconciliation.”
McConnell reportedly proposed the short-term debt limit deal yesterday after consulting with two centrist Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who hold the keys to whether Democrats would consider changing the Senate’s legislative filibuster to allow a narrow carveout for the debt ceiling.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week warned Congress that the U.S. will run out of maneuvers to avoid exceeding the debt limit on Oct. 18. If Congress does not act before then, it would likely hurt consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers and negatively impact the credit rating of the U.S.
If the Senate passes the short-term deal, it will need to be passed by the House before being sent to President Biden for signature.