Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a bill that would avert a government shutdown and keep the country from defaulting on its debt, NBC News reports.
The Senate voted 48-50 to end debate on the bill, with every Republican voting against it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer later changed his vote to “no” so that he could introduce the bill again.
"It's one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes I've seen taken in the Senate, and it should send a signal to every family, small business, market watcher, about who in this chamber is in favor of endangering the economic stability of our country," Schumer said, adding that "we'll be taking further action to prevent this from happening this week."
Lawmakers have until Friday to keep the government from shutting down. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Congress has until mid-October to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt.
Democrats say the bill is necessary to keep the government functioning and to avert a potential economic crisis. Republicans say Democrats should pass the bill themselves using budget reconciliation.
GOP balks at debt deal:
Republicans say they oppose the bill because Democrats coupled the government funding bill with a measure to raise the debt ceiling. The bill also includes emergency disaster relief.
"I voted no once it became clear it couldn't pass, if it had any chance of passing, I would have voted yes because I need to bring relief to my state," Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said. "On the other hand, I think it was pretty cynical of Senator Schumer to attach relief for disaster victims to something that he knew wasn't going to pass."
"Democrats can raise the debt ceiling all by themselves,” said Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. “So do it. Plain and simple.”
Dems may split bills:
Democrats may split the debt ceiling measure from the government funding package to avoid a shutdown before the weekend, according to Politico.
Democrats had hoped the government funding measure would push Republicans toward supporting the debt limit increase but the GOP has not budged.
“I'm sure there are very, very smart, clever people to figure out how you deal with the debt,” said Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro. “Our first order of business is to keep the government open, which we are going to do.”
“We shouldn’t even string it out until Thursday because of the enormous costs that are incurred in the pre-shutdown procedures. But I think we’re there. How we get through the debt ceiling? Still TBD,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said .