Joe Biden is edging closer to employing the nuclear option in order to suspend the debt ceiling and allow Democrats to borrow and spend another $4 trillion on their agenda.
The nuclear option would, for all intents and purposes, destroy the filibuster. If the Democrats are successful in “suspending” it so they don’t need a 60-vote majority to increase the debt, they will be able to suspend the rule any time they wish.
But democracy is just so hard, don’t ya know? All this talkin’ and gabbin’. There’s no action, no excitement. No fun.
And there’s nothing more fun than spending dollars with nine zeroes after the “1” that nobody will ever have to pay for — at least, no one from this generation.
“Oh, I think that’s a real possibility,” Mr. Biden said when asked if Democrats were considering the last-resort route, which would involve making an exception to allow for a debt ceiling bill to pass with a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes needed.
Senate Democrats discussed carving out the exception at their weekly lunch on Tuesday. No conclusions were reached, but notably, according to participants, the two strongest opponents of filibuster changes, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, did not speak up in protest. They also did not speak up in support.
If Senators Sinema and Manchin think they’ve been under pressure before, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Democrats are setting up the two less-radical senators to get the lion’s share of the blame if Biden’s agenda fails to pass.
Both senators now find themselves on an island with fewer and fewer reasons not to get rid of the filibuster. Make no mistake, if Democrats are able to waive the filibuster rule in order to pass the debt limit increase, Biden won’t hesitate to waive the rule to pass his gargantuan spending bills.
All of this will come to a head on Wednesday when Senate Democrats will vote on a House bill to suspend the debt limit until 2022. It will fail and then Democrats will be forced to confront the problem.
Mr. Biden’s remarks on Tuesday evening, made as he returned to the White House after a trip to Michigan to sell a bipartisan infrastructure package and expansive social spending bill, reflected the president’s increasingly confrontational approach to a divided chamber that has presented him with one legislative obstacle after another as he tries to pass his domestic agenda.
“As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt,” Mr. Biden said during remarks at the White House on Monday, cautioning that a failed vote on Wednesday could rattle financial markets, sending stock prices lower and interest rates higher. “A meteor is headed for our economy,” he said.
When he warns of a “meteor” heading for the economy, is the president talking about a failure to increase the debt limit or his $4 trillion spendapalooza?
As my PJM colleague Matt Margolis pointed out, Democrats can raise the debt limit at any time using the reconciliation process. Their feeble excuse that reconciliation takes too long doesn’t even pass the smell test.