Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate had reached a deal on a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 3. The vote, scheduled for Thursday morning, will avoid a partial government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on Friday.
The House passed its own CR last week on a largely a party-line vote of 220-211.
Schumer made one last effort to get the GOP to agree to increase the debt ceiling by including a suspension of the debt limit in the government funding bill until December of 2022, but Republicans insisted on passing a “clean” funding bill and Schumer reluctantly acquiesced.
Democrats do have the option to raise the debt limit on their own using a process known as budget reconciliation, but Schumer has argued that route is too risky.
Schumer reiterated his warning on Wednesday that going down the path of using reconciliation is “very risky” and “could well lead us to default.” With Republicans strongly opposed to helping Democrats in any way to suspend the debt ceiling, it leaves in doubt how Congress will address the looming crisis in the next few weeks before the US would default on its debt.
“In solving this crisis, this body cannot and will not go through a drawn out unpredictable process sought by the minority leader. It risks the full faith and credit of the United States,” he said. “To do this through reconciliation requires ping ponging separate bills back from the Senate and the House. It’s uncharted waters. Individual senators could move to delay, delay and delay. It is very risky and could well lead us to default.”
What a load of horse hockey. All bills “ping-pong” from the Senate to the House (or House to the Senate). During that process, any senator could object to any unanimous consent request and stop the bill cold.
Perhaps Senator Schumer would like to explain why any individual Democratic senator would want to do that? Or any GOP senator, for that matter? It’s a weak strawman argument that doesn’t stand up to rudimentary scrutiny.
The bottom line is that Democrats want to get the GOP on board to share the political consequences of spending $4 trillion — most of which no Republican (and some Democrat) in their right mind wants to see passed.
There’s one potential landmine in passing the budget: $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
The funding was stripped out of the House bill after opposition from progressives. The House passed a separate Defense bill that included the Iron Dome money last week with overwhelming support, 420 to 9. But now, Republicans want the government funding bill to include the Iron Dome, which could cause problems when it goes back to the House.
The radicals are just dumb enough to delay or try to kill the temporary funding bill because they don’t believe it’s fair that Israel gets to protect its citizens against terrorists launching missiles to kill as many Jews as possible while the terrorists are targeted by the IDF.
Fortunately, most in Congress don’t feel that way.