Senate Republicans are poised to reject a bill passed by the House to avert a government shutdown and prevent the government from defaulting on its debt, Insider reports.
The House on Tuesday voted 220-211 in favor of a bill that would fund the government through December and suspend the debt ceiling so that the government can continue to pay its bills. The bill also includes $28 billion in emergency disaster relief funding and aid to resettle Afghan refugees.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that the bill would not get any Republican votes in the Senate, likely dooming already dooming it. Republicans don’t want to vote to raise the debt ceiling, even though they voted to do so three times under the Trump administration.
"The debt limit is an absolutely phony issue," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, explaining that it simply allows the government to pay the bills it already owes.
"It is essential that we keep the government open," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warning that a shutdown would be "catastrophic."
McConnell won’t budge:
Former Treasury Secretaries Steven Mnuchin and Hank Paulson tried to press McConnell to ensure that the US does not default on its debt in private but the Republican leader was unmoved, according to the Washington Post.
McConnell told Paulson that Republicans are adamant about forcing the Democrats to raise the debt limit themselves as Paulson warned of dangers to the global economy. After the discussion, Paulson told the Biden administration that Democrats will need to raise the debt limit on their own.
Democrats can use the budget reconciliation process to raise the limit to a certain number but Democrats are pushing to suspend the debt ceiling to prevent having the same fight repeatedly.
Some Democrats believe that Republicans will come around rather than allow the government to default on its debt.
"I honestly don't believe that the Republicans are that crazy that they would allow the global economy to sink into a depression," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told Insider. "I think the irresponsibility of that is beyond comprehension."
"I think leadership's got some ideas on Plan B but I don't think those ought to be shopped," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner told the outlet. "Frankly we ought to get rid of the whole legal fiction here to start with because it's nothing but a hand grenade that irresponsible politicians pull a pin on.”