Schumer: Senate will vote on continuing resolution sans debt limit suspension to avoid shutdown

McConnell says "no chance" Republican conference will go out of its way to help Democrats in passing measure.

Updated: September 29, 2021 - 3:29pm

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday members will vote on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded temporarily without a debt limit suspension tied to the legislation. 

"Once we fund the government, we still need to address the urgent matter of extending the debt ceiling and preserving the full faith and credit of the United States," Schumer said on the Senate floor.

"To paraphrase the economist Austan Goolsbee, who just met with our caucus this morning, throughout history there have certainly been governments that have defaulted on their debt – but never has there been a default caused by pure stupidity. In this case, Republican stupidity," the New York Democrat also said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are not giving the Democrats the votes to raise the debt ceiling so that they can rush President Biden's "socialist" agenda through Congress in the $3.5 trillion filibuster-proof Build Back Better Act.

"There is no chance, no chance the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible," McConnell said.

He described the Democrats' reconciliation bill as a "reckless tax and spending spree." The bill is expected to include tax changes such as a corporate tax increase, a top income tax rate increase and a capital gains tax hike.

"Democrats want to jack up America's tax rates, drain money from people's pockets, spend it on socialism and then say the whole thing nets out to zero dollars?" said the Kentucky Republican, referring to Biden claiming his $3.5 trillion plan will cost zero dollars. "This might be the best encapsulation of Washington Democrat thinking I've ever heard."

According to the Treasury Department, the debt limit would have to be raised by Oct. 18.

Schumer balked at the idea of Democrats using their partisan budget reconciliation bill to raise the debt limit.

"Now in solving this crisis, this body cannot and will not go through a drawn-out unpredictable process sought by the minority leader," he said. "To do this through reconciliation requires ping-ponging separate bills back from the Senate and the House."

He characterized such a maneuver as "uncharted waters."

Schumer has decided to proceed with a continuing resolution for regular appropriations to prevent a government shutdown.

"The Senate could take action as early as today to address a concern that demands the immediate attention of this chamber: funding the federal government beyond September 30," he said on Wednesday.

"To prevent a government shutdown, Senate Democrats will be introducing a Continuing Resolution that keeps the government open until early December while also providing long-sought emergency funding to help Americans still reeling from natural disasters from this summer, as well as funding to help re-settle Afghan refugees," he also said.