Senate Republicans Block Government Funding Bill In A Battle Over The Debt Limit

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for a test vote on a government spending bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Congress Is Seeking (Its Own) Permission To Borrow Another Trillion Or Two

«As we speak Democrats are behind closed doors assembling a multi-trillion dollar reckless taxing and spending spree,» McConnell said Monday afternoon. «There’s no chance Republicans will help lift Democrats’ credit limit so they can immediately steamroll through a socialist a socialist binge that will hurt families and help China.»

Democrats must now decide if they are willing to remove the debt limit provision in order to prevent a government shutdown. Current funding runs out at the end of the day on Thursday and lawmakers are also eager to other elements of the bill, like money for communities hit by natural disasters and $6.3 billion in aid for Afghan refugees.

The debt limit has become a perennial proxy fight in Congress as lawmakers from both sides have tried to use the must-pass vote to get leverage on unrelated political goals. While there have been instances where both sides readily agreed to adjust the borrowing, this is not the first risky standoff over borrowing.

Congress Is Locked In A Familiar Standoff That Could Have Big Economic Consequences

Congress needs to raise the debt cap in order for the federal government to keep making payments on debt that has resulted from earlier spending or risk a federal default. Experts at the Bipartisan Policy Institute think tank estimate that the current borrowing authority will run out sometime between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4, but the exact date is imprecise.

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