Senate

Senate reaches deal on short-term debt hike into December

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that he had reached an agreement with Republicans to extend the debt ceiling into December.

“We have reached an agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December,” Schumer said.

Senators could vote on the deal as soon as Thursday.

The agreement, according to a Senate aide, would increase the debt ceiling by $480 billion, which based on Treasury Department estimates would extend the debt ceiling until Dec. 3.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed during a floor speech that they had reached a deal.

“The Senate is moving toward the plan I laid out last night to spare the American people from an unprecedented crisis,” he said.

“The pathway our Democratic colleagues have accepted will spare the American people any near-term crisis,” McConnell added. 

In order to vote on Thursday, every senator would have to agree to speed up the agreement, otherwise it could be dragged out into the weekend.

GOP senators say they expect the deal will need to overcome a 60-vote procedural hurdle.

That will require at least 10 Republicans to help advance the debt ceiling deal, even if they ultimately voted against it on final passage. Any one senator could require that the bill get 60 votes to advance. 

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate GOP whip, said on Thursday that they were still talking to members to see how many would vote to advance the deal. 

“We’re having conversations,” he said. “We’ve got to take the temperature of our members.”

The deal has already sparked backlash from former President Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally and the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

“I do not support the Democrats’ reconciliation package and I do not support raising the debt limit to make that level of spending possible. If Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling they can use the reconciliation process,” Graham said in a statement.

Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, also said on Thursday that he’ll oppose the deal.

McConnell, as part of the offer from Republicans, said that they would help expedite the reconciliation process if Democrats decided to raise the debt ceiling on their own through the budget rules that let them bypass a filibuster. He also said that Republicans would let Democrats pass a short-term debt hike as long as the short-term extension was to a specific number and not a day.

Republicans want Democrats to do a long-term debt hike on their own through reconciliation, a budget process that lets them bypass a filibuster.

McConnell, on Thursday, argued that by supporting a short-term extension that would push the debt ceiling into early December, Republicans were defanging a top Democratic complaint that they didn’t have enough time to raise the debt ceiling on their own through reconciliation.

Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise the debt ceiling and avert a historic default. The Senate agreement would need to be passed by the House before being sent to President Biden.

Updated at 12:48 p.m.

Tags Chuck Schumer debt ceiling Donald Trump Joe Biden John Thune Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell

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