Yellen to Congress: Raise debt ceiling using 'regular order,' not reconciliation

Treasury Secretary's statement arrives the same day that Senate Democrats publicly released their $3.5 trillion, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation resolution.
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Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Congress may be headed toward a late-summer showdown over the debt-ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress Monday to raise the debt limit with "regular order," meaning not via a reconciliation bill. 

Congress has in recent years "addressed the debt limit through regular order, with broad bipartisan support," Yellen pointed out in a statement. "In fact, during the last administration, Democrats and Republicans came together to do their duty three times.

"Congress should do so again now by increasing or suspending the debt limit on a bipartisan basis ... This is a shared responsibility, and I urge Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis as it has in the past to protect the full faith and credit of the United States." 

Yellen's statement arrives the same day that Senate Democrats publicly released their $3.5 trillion, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation resolution. The question was whether they wished to include in the mammoth package instructions to raise the debt limit, utilizing the filibuster-proof parliamentary tactic such that Republicans would have no say in the matter. Yellen's statement of opposition to that plan is the first public position from the Biden administration on the subject. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled to Democrats over the last month that they should include the debt-increase in the reconciliation bill because his caucus will be reluctant to vote for an increase when the time comes.

Republican opposition to raising the debt ceiling, if it is included as part a spending bill later this summer or early this fall, could trigger a government shutdown. The national debt is currently running at well over $28 trillion.