If Democrats Want to Pass the $3.5 Trillion Budget Alone, They Can Raise the Debt Limit Alone: McConnell

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
September 14, 2021 Updated: September 14, 2021

Senate leaders are debating who is responsible for raising the now $28 trillion debt limit, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) arguing that Republicans added $8 trillion to the debt during the Trump administration, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying that the GOP used a bipartisan approach to passing spending bills but Democrats have been passing legislation along party lines.

“This isn’t the last four years, when we were reaching bipartisan government funding agreements, bipartisan appropriations, and bipartisan COVID bills. Democrats have made a different choice. They want to make policy all by themselves,” said McConnell on Tuesday from the Senate floor. “So, they can come up with financing on their own, as well. Democratic leaders have every tool and procedure they need to handle the debt limit on a partisan basis, just like they’re choosing to handle everything else.”

McConnell was referring to the Democrats’ partisan spending packages: the $2 trillion in what they called COVID-19 relief and currently another $3.5 trillion spending bill using the budget reconciliation process. This process will allow the Democrats to pass the legislation with no Republican votes, so long as all 50 Democrat senators vote in favor of the new spending and the majority of House Democrats vote yes.

“Washington Democrats have spent trillions, trillions of dollars on pet liberal projects. They’ve been printing and wasting money like there’s no tomorrow and American families are hurting as a result. Inflation is more than overtaking the average worker’s wage growth,” said McConnell.

When the pandemic first began, Republicans supported a $2 trillion bipartisan stimulus package, but they have been opposed to Democrats’ continued spending for welfare programs under the premise that it will help the country recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Back in 2020, during … the COVID emergency, Congress worked across party lines to pass massive rescue packages that Republicans and Democrats had written together,” said McConnell, adding that this relief was not needed, “But our Democratic colleagues wanted more. Like they admitted from the start of the pandemic, they wanted to use the crisis to ‘restructure things to fit their vision’ from a temporary emergency to permanent socialism.”

A man waits at a bus stop that displays the official national debt of the United States in Washington on June 19, 2020. The non-profit Truth-in-Accounting says the actual national debt is more than four times the official figure. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
A man waits at a bus stop that displays the official national debt of the United States in Washington on June 19, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Schumer responded to McConnell’s declaration, hinting that they would not use the reconciliation process to raise the debt limit.

“Leader McConnell keeps talking about the new spending, what Democrats have done that’s not this debt. This debt, $5.5 trillion, was all under Trump and when Leader McConnell was the majority leader, but some Republicans recklessly, irresponsibly, so overwhelmingly politically, seem eager to push our economy to the brink of total catastrophe by suggesting that they will oppose any effort to raise the debt ceiling,” said Schumer during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, adding, “And rather than urging his colleagues to immediately drop this reckless idea, the Republican leader, shame on him, seems to be giving it his blessing, if not promoting.”

Schumer said there would be catastrophic impacts to the economy if Congress did not raise the debt limit and instead defaulted on the loans, which has never happened in U.S. history.

“So, any efforts to play nasty political games with the full faith and credit of the United States is reckless, irresponsible, and despicable. It could pose permanent damage to the U.S. economy and is a complete non-starter. In America, when it’s time to pay the bills, we do it without exception,” said Schumer.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a press conference on Sept. 8 that Democrats will not be adding provisions to increase the debt ceiling in the $3.5 trillion budget.

This all comes as the Treasury warns that it will not be able to fund the government anymore past mid-October at the latest. It has been using “extraordinary measures,” according to Secretary Janet Yellen, to keep government funding stable.

In view of this fast-approaching deadline, Pelosi also criticized efforts by Republicans in both chambers to oppose raising the debt ceiling, echoing Schumer’s view that much of the debt was increased under the Trump administration.

Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq