Talks between Senate party leaders on a deal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling by a fixed dollar amount have spilled over into Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters early Thursday morning from the Senate floor.
Several Democrats had indicated support of the offer from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would let them raise the debt ceiling before the United States defaults without a GOP filibuster, by an amount enough to cover current government expenditure until December.
Without congressional action to raise the debt ceiling that already stands at $28.4 trillion, the Treasury Department has forecast that it will run out of ways to meet all its obligations by Oct. 18.
McConnell’s deal would allow for a temporary debt limit extension, but leave any raising of the debt ceiling to fund further partisan spending bills, like Biden’s “Build Back Better” Act, to Democrats to pass through the budget reconciliation process—unless changes to the Democrat-led bills can win Republican support by the Dec. 3 funding deadline.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the deal after a closed-door party meeting, “In terms of a temporary lifting of the debt ceiling, we view that as a victory, a temporary victory with more work to do,” Baldwin said.
“We have to see the final wording on the offer,” she also told Politico.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). said that McConnell “finally saw the light” on putting forward a proposal that could pass quickly before the default deadline.
Mitch folded and we have until December to do Build Back Better. And we will.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) October 6, 2021
Meanwhile, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said on Twitter that McConnell “folded” and Democrats “have until December to do Build Back Better. And we will.”
Others were not as supportive of the proposal. “That sounds like a terrible idea,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said. “I’m obviously willing to listen to any new ideas, but just pushing this crisis off for a couple of months sounds like a disaster. It sounds like an invitation to get downgraded.”
The White House also said it had not committed to any deal.
“My understanding is that there has been no formal offer made, a press release is not a formal offer. And regardless, even the scant details that have been reported present a more complicated, more difficult option than the one that is quite obvious,” press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“We could get this done today, we don’t need to kick the can, we don’t need to go through a cumbersome process that every day brings additional risks,” she added.
Schumer had been expected to announce his party’s decision on the GOP proposal on Wednesday afternoon, but the two leaders were yet to agree on the deal’s fixed dollar amount by midnight.
Earlier in the day, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) urged McConnell and Schumer to work out a deal after he signaled that he wouldn’t support carving out an exception to the filibuster the federal debt limit, leaving Democrats without enough votes to suspend the debt ceiling.
McConnell’s proposal seeks to avert any risk of the United States defaulting on Oct. 18, as Schumer accused Republicans of being the “party of default.”
Zachary Stieber and Reuters contributed to this report.