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Forty-six Republican senators declare in letter they won’t vote to raise debt ceiling

The number of signatories indicates that Democrats will fall short of the 10 votes they need to raise the debt limit outside of the budget process

Updated: August 11, 2021 - 10:06am

Forty-six Republican senators have issued a warning that they will not be voting to raise the debt ceiling, signaling that Senate Democrats will be left to their own devices to raise the nation's borrowing limit.

In a letter released Tuesday night, 46 senators wrote that they won't support a debt hike. The message, addressed to "fellow Americans," begins:

"We, the undersigned Republican Senators, are letting Senate Democrats and the American public know that we will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle."

Blame for continued spending will be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats, the letter made clear: "This is a problem created by Democrat spending. Democrats will have to accept sole responsibility for facilitating it."

All heads of the Senate GOP caucus signed onto the letter, which was written by Wisconsin's Sen. Ron Johnson, who is in cycle in 2022, but has yet to announce whether he intends to run again. The number of Republican signatories to the letter indicates that Democrats will fall short of the 10 GOP votes they would need to raise the debt ceiling in a vote separate of the budget process. 

"Democrats want Republicans to help them raise the debt limit so they can keep spending historic sums of money with zero Republican input and zero Republican votes," said Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and John Kennedy of Louisiana did not sign the letter. 

The debt ceiling has been suspended since 2019, but kicked back in this month forcing the U.S. Treasury to resort to "extraordinary measures" to keep the U.S. solvent. The debt ceiling will likely need to be raised by Congress sometime this fall.

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