Democrats Are Out Of Excuses On The Debt Limit

LEADER McCONNELL: ‘For Two And A Half Months, The Democratic Leaders Did Nothing And Then Complained They Were Short On Time…. Now There Will Be No Question: They’ll Have Plenty Of Time’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “All year, the Democratic government has made unprecedented and repeated use of reconciliation to pass radical policies on party-line votes. So, back in July, Republicans informed our colleagues they would need to pursue any long-term increase in the debt limit through that same process. The President, the Speaker, and the Democratic Leader had three months’ notice to do their jobs. But for two and a half months, the Democratic leaders did nothing and then complained they were short on time. The majority didn’t have a plan to prevent default. So we stepped forward. The pathway our Democratic colleagues have accepted will spare the American people any near-term crisis, while definitively resolving the majority’s excuse that they lacked time to address the debt limit through the 304 reconciliation process. Now there will be no question: They’ll have plenty of time.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 10/07/2021)


Leader McConnell ‘Has Taken Away One Of The Biggest Democratic Talking Points For The Next Debt Showdown -- That They Don’t Have Time To Lift The Debt Limit Via Reconciliation. They Have Plenty Of Time To Do That Now

“McConnell also has taken away one of the biggest Democratic talking points for the next debt showdown -- that they don’t have time to lift the debt limit via reconciliation. They have plenty of time to do that now, so they won’t be able to use that line again in six weeks.” (Punchbowl PM, 10/06/2021)

“Republicans are calling Democrats’ bluff: As the GOP insisted that Democrats use the convoluted budget reconciliation process to raise the debt ceiling on party lines, Democrats protested that it would be too perilous and time consuming, risking a possible default. Those protestations didn’t hold much water: Democrats have already used reconciliation once this year to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, and they are halfway through the process of using it again to advance … their signature domestic policy agenda. The brief extension would seem to remove any fig-leaf excuse that time was an issue.” (The Washington Post, 10/07/2021)

For Two Weeks, Senate And House Democrats Complained That They Did Not Have Enough Time To Raise The Debt Limit Through Reconciliation

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “We do not have the luxury of using a drawn-out convoluted and risky process. We could prevent a catastrophic default with a simple majority vote tomorrow. … Reconciliation is a drawn-out con -- convoluted and risky process with default and downgrade hovering over us, the best way to do it is the way we said, that's what we're telling Leader McConnell and the American people we need to do.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 10/05/2021)

  • SCHUMER: “We cannot afford the risk of a drawn-out, unpredictable process sought by the Minority Leader, which could very well actually cause a default.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 9/30/2021)
  • SCHUMER: “Now, in solving this crisis, this body cannot and will not go through a drawn-out, unpredictable process sought by the Minority Leader. It risks the full faith and credit of the United States. To do this through reconciliation requires ping-ponging separate bills back from the Senate and the House. It's uncharted waters. Individual senators could move to delay and delay and delay. It is very risky and could well lead us to default, even if only one senator wanted that to happen. That's very possible. So you can't do it this route. Everyone who has studied it knows it is risky, and it's simply a political gambit by Leader McConnell who has changed his tune several different times.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 9/29/2021)
  • SCHUMER: “Look, the -- we've given -- now, we've given the Republicans just what they asked for, just what they've asked for. And that's what we hope to get done. As I said, going through the long, convoluted, difficult reconciliation process with debt limit is very, very risky. We're not pursuing that. This is what they asked for. … . We want to get this done and get it done quickly without risk. The reconciliation process with debt limit goes back and forth, it ping pongs between the House and Senate. It's two or three times. It's not just adding on one amendment. This is the solution we're asking Republicans to support. Their proposal is risky. We're not doing it.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 9/28/2021)
  • SCHUMER: “Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling, but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn-out, convoluted, and risky reconciliation process. That was simply unacceptable to my caucus…” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S6990, 10/07/2021)

SENATE DEMOCRATIC WHIP DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “The notion of using reconciliation, it’s almost a casual suggestion, and it's far from that. We went through the procedure and looked at it very carefully. We're talking about three to four weeks and establishing, sadly, that this is going to be the future. What a waste of time in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. And frankly, it isn't really practical for us to consider that. It's a flip remark we hear from a lot of people on the Hill. ‘We'll go ahead and put reconciliation.’ Not that easy.” (MSNBC, 9/28/2021)

SENATE ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “That is an impossible thought to me. How we would go back and amend a reconciliation bill? I know Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has thrown that out. That’s never happened before. I don’t know how we’d do it. It's a long process. It is not really, to me, clear at all that even can happen. So I'm not even paying attention to that.” (MSNBC, 9/23/2021)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): “Because it takes an enormous amount of time. You only have one reconciliation a year. So you have to hope that the debt ceiling comes up at a moment when you have a [budget resolution] available.” (Punchbowl AM, 10/07/2021)

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY), House Budget Committee Chairman: “If not, we will probably have to resort to a reconciliation motion, a resolution that will take some time. It generally takes at least 10 days, probably two weeks, to get done. We will do it on our own. … Again, it's a 10-to-14 day process. And so if we started it [October 4th]… then that gives us — yes, if we can get it done in two weeks, that's right up against the limit.” (PBS, 9/28/2021)

  • YARMUTH: “We can pass a reconciliation motion. It would take several weeks to do that, to get it through both houses. We don't know if we have that much time.” (CNN, 9/22/2021)
  • PUNCHBOWL’S JAKE SHERMAN: “NEW: House Budget Chair @RepJohnYarmuth told me and @mkraju his staff has come to the conclusion there is not enough time to alter the reconciliation bill OR write a stand alone bill to lift the debt ceiling This could complicate next month as we inch closer to deadline” (Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman, @JakeSherman, Twitter, 9/22/2021)
  • “We spoke to House Budget Chair John Yarmuth of Kentucky today, and he gave us some sobering information. He said it would be ‘virtually impossible’ at this juncture for Democrats to use the 50-vote threshold afforded to them in budget reconciliation to lift the debt limit.” (Punchbowl PM, 9/22/2021)
  • YARMUTH: “Well, first of all, what [my staff was] looking through is whether we could use the existing budget resolution process to… amending it to raise the debt ceiling. And that process would, first of all, we'd have to amend ours, the Senate would have to go back to the Senate Budget Committee, they would have to amend theirs -- which they may not be able to do. … And the other thing that our staff came up with was that it was that it is probable that the Senate parliamentarian would rule that the entire bill loses its privilege. … So then the option would be doing a separate reconciliation bill starts the whole process over going through both Senate and House Budget committees.” (Punchbowl PM, 9/22/2021)



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