Senate Republicans block House bill to fund government and suspend debt limit

Senate Democrats tried to pass a bill that made temporary provisions for funding the federal government through December 3. The bill was passed by House Democrats, without the support of House Republicans but failed at the senate as GOP senators also voted en masse against it and effectively blocked it. The bill also sought to suspend the debt ceiling through December 16, 2022. The political showdown comes less than a week before the government can potentially shut down.

The vote on the procedural motion was 50 to 48. The GOP opposed the bill as it proposed to raise the debt limit. Republicans are adamant that they will not support an increase in the debt ceiling and hold it to be an issue whose political fallback should be on the Democrats.

The Republican lawmakers vote was unanimous while Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer switched his vote to “no.” This procedural move was made to facilitate another vote on the senate floor in future. The federal government will shut down on Friday, unless lawmakers approve funding in the interim.

The Treasury Department has said that Congress has to approve funding the government before Friday, to prevent a shutdown. It also said that the lawmakers had to raise the debt limit or else the U.S. government could risk default.

Democrats have to find a way through which they avoid both the shutdown as well as the risk of default. Otherwise, the American economy would be in a perilous position. Millions of Americans might also lose their jobs.

As the Republican opposition has been total in both the House and the Senate, it is clear that the Democrats have to change the bill. The GOP might offer support only if they passed a bill that only tackled short term funding. The Democrats might have to raise the debt limit on their own, probably as a part of their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.

Before the vote on Monday, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell had already declared that the GOP would only vote for a short-term funding bill and not for a bill that would raise the debt limit.

Source CNBC, WSJ, NBC News

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