Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) contradicted Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Tuesday by suggesting the debt ceiling “can’t” be raised with the reconciliation tactic.
“Reconciliation is very risky, risking default and risking downgrade,” Schumer told a CNN reporter. “Can’t do it.”
Schumer’s comments directly oppose Manchin’s statement that the reconciliation tactic is a viable option. “We just can’t let the debt ceiling lapse. We just can’t,” Manchin said. “We can prevent default, we really can prevent it.”
“And there’s a way to do that, and there’s a couple other tools we have that we can use. Takes a little bit of time, a little bit of — it’s gonna be a little bit of pain, long vote-a-ramas, this and that — do what you have to do,” Manchin explained about reconciliation. “But we cannot — and I want people to know — we will not let this country default.”
Manchin’s comments are in line with the Senate parliamentarian, who told both Democrats and Republicans last week the tactic could be used. If utilized, the debt ceiling could be raised by a 50 vote simple majority and without Republican support.
As with all reconciliation packages, the debt ceiling reconciliation would be subject to a vote-a-rama in the Senate, a separate vote-a-roma from Biden’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
With Democrats 19 days from a debt default, the Democrats must find a way to raise the debt ceiling outside conventional means. As Republicans remain united in allowing Democrats to run the Democrat-controlled government, Schumer may be forced to raise the debt ceiling within a reconciliation package.
Such a maneuver is what Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has suggested Democrats execute to prevent default. The complicated maneuver would likely legislatively jam President Biden’s massive tax and spend agenda in Congress.
“Democrats control the entire government—the Senate, the House, and the White House. They intend to sideline Republicans and go it alone to slam American families with historic tax hikes and borrowing,” McConnell explained. “So they will need to raise the debt limit on a partisan basis as well.”
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