Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans ahead of a key procedural vote Monday on a House-passed bill to suspend the nation’s debt limit and avert a government shutdown.
The Democratic leader said that “after today there will be no doubt about which party in this chamber is working to solve the problems that face our country, and which party is accelerating us towards unnecessary, avoidable disaster.”
He warned that “If Republicans follow through with their plans to vote no, they will be on record deliberately sabotaging our country’s ability to pay the bills, and likely causing the first ever default in American history.”
The best case scenario under this “awful situation,” Schumer said in floor remarks, is “our country would fall into another recession, potentially erasing all the progress we’ve made to pull ourselves out of the Covid crisis.”
Schumer asked his Republican colleagues to “think carefully about the practical consequences of what they’re doing” before voting down the measure.
What is happening tonight: The Senate will be voting on a procedural motion to advance the legislation, which needs 60 votes to succeed. While a few Senate Republicans may ultimately vote in support of the legislation, it is not expected there will be 10 Senate Republican votes in favor, which would be needed to reach the 60-vote threshold since Democrats only control 50 seats in the chamber.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear for months that Republicans will not vote to increase the federal borrowing limit, setting the stage for a major showdown over the issue. McConnell’s threat has prompted outrage from Democrats, who have said the GOP leader is playing a dangerous game that could tank the US economy. Republicans argue that it’s not uncommon for the majority party to shoulder the burden for increasing the debt limit, a politically toxic vote for lawmakers up for reelection.
McConnell said on Monday ahead of the vote that Republicans are ready to support a bill to avert a shutdown as long as it does not have the debt limit attached.