For now, Democrats still resist hiking the debt ceiling through a reconciliation process. But as expected, they caved in somewhere.
That somewhere was agreeing to a Temporary Deal, something the Democrat leadership also said they would not do.
Democrats signaled they would take up Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s offer to raise the U.S. debt ceiling into December, alleviating the immediate risk of a default but raising the prospect of another bruising political fight near the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t respond publicly, but Democrats leaving a meeting with him Wednesday said they were ready to push through a short-term increase in the debt limit. Still, they said they will continue to oppose using a process called reconciliation to pass a longer-term increase in the limit with only Democratic votes, which McConnell has demanded.
The deal came after President Joe Biden late Tuesday remarked to reporters about discussions underway among Senate Democrats to temporarily change the chamber’s filibuster rule to allow the debt ceiling measure to go through, saying it was a “real possibility.” Still, all Democrats in the Senate would have to go along with that, and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia told reporters Wednesday he wouldn’t support doing that.
While Democrats declared it a victory, it leaves them in a politically difficult bind. In about two months they will be facing the same fight, and have yet to articulate a strategy to avoid it. And unless Republicans capitulate, Democrats will be forced to set a dollar amount on how much they want to raise the debt ceiling, a number that is sure to be used in GOP ads during the 2022 campaign for congressional elections.
“We’re going to pay our debts, we have two months to figure out where we go from here,” Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders said.
Always a Victory
Trump set the standard that everyone now follows: No matter what the outcome, declare victory and be done with it.
Even if Manchin holds firm on spending $1.5 trillion instead of the $3.5 trillion Biden asked, the only Liberal who might not declare victory is Bernie Sanders.
Showdown Postponed, Not Cancelled
McConnell wants to force Democrats to use the reconciliation process to raise the debt ceiling so the Democrats alone are responsible.
That showdown was postponed, not cancelled.
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