USA

No. 2 Senate Democrat: Raising debt limit under reconciliation a 'non-starter'

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinGOP blocks debt limit hike, government funding The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats stare down 'hell' week Biden sidesteps GOP on judicial vacancies, for now MORE (Ill.), the No. 2-ranking Senate Democratic leader, on Tuesday dismissed a proposal to use the budget reconciliation process to raise the federal debt limit with only Democratic votes as a non-starter.

Durbin warned that it would take three to four weeks to amend the Senate budget resolution and set up a special path to raise the nation’s debt ceiling without any Republican support.

“That is a non-starter. Using reconciliation is a non-starter,” Durbin said emphatically.

He said he and other members of the Senate Democratic caucus have listened to Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda Schumer gets shoutout, standing ovation from crowd at Tony Awards MORE (D-N.Y.) explain the arcane process for using budget reconciliation to raise the debt limit and it’s so complicated that it takes 15 minutes to lay out the entire scenario.

“It takes him about 15 minutes for Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda Schumer gets shoutout, standing ovation from crowd at Tony Awards MORE to explain how that works, what it involves — three or four weeks of activity in the House and the Senate,” he said. “This notion, ‘Oh you just stick it on reconciliation,’ is a non-starter.”

Durbin said attaching the debt-limit measure to the human infrastructure investment package Democrats plan to pass under reconciliation or setting up a stand-alone reconciliation vehicle to raise the debt limit are both impractical.

Politico reported Tuesday morning that President BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE discussed the possibility of using budget reconciliation to raise the debt limit in a phone call with Schumer and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiManchin cast doubt on deal this week for .5T spending bill Obama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif.) Monday evening.

Schumer on Tuesday announced he would request unanimous consent later in the day to allow a debt-limit suspension to pass with a majority vote without having to first overcome the usual 60-vote threshold to end a filibuster.

Republicans are expected to reject Schumer’s request. 

The entire Senate Republican conference voted Monday to block a bill to fund the government past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 and to suspend the debt limit until Dec. 16, 2022. The legislation also included emergency funds to settle Afghan refugees and provide for disaster recovery in states hit by floods and wildfires.

Sen. Ben SasseBen SassePresident of newly recognized union for adult performers boosts membership Romney blasts Biden over those left in Afghanistan: 'Bring them home' Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal MORE (R-Neb.) and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFederal watchdog calls on Congress, Energy Dept. to overhaul nuclear waste storage process Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Republicans caught in California's recall trap MORE (D-Calif.) missed Monday’s vote. 

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