Schumer says Senate may vote on funding bill
The U.S. Capitol, photographed on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images According to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senate could vote on Wednesday for a bill which would stop a shutdown of government.| Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
The Senate may vote as soon as Wednesday on a bill that would prevent a government shutdown, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
If Congress does not pass an appropriations bill before Thursday midnight, federal funding will be canceled. Schumer, a New York Democrat, said that senators would introduce a bill which would allow the government to continue running until December 1.
The proposal — which would need support from all 100 senators to move through the chamber Wednesday — would also include money for hurricane relief and Afghan refugee resettlement.
Schumer indicated that the House could approve the measure fast and quickly send it to him so that it could be sent to President Obama’s desk before the funding deadline of midnight tomorrow. A government shutdown is unnecessary when there are so many pressing issues.
A lapse in funding could lead to federal worker furloughs and a reduction in services. Prior to the funding deadline, Office of Management and Budget of the Biden Administration has issued shutdown guidance to agencies.
The only way to prevent another crisis is for lawmakers to keep the government in operation. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress the U.S. will run out of ways to pay its bills around Oct. 18 if lawmakers do not hike or suspend the debt limit — raising the prospect of a first-ever default that could wreck the U.S. economy.
The debt limit and government funding are two separate matters. While raising the borrowing limit doesn’t authorize future spending, it allows Treasury to meet its existing obligations.
Both chambers of Congress are controlled by Democrats. This week, they tried to end both crises with one move. The House passed a bill that would fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling, but Republicans blocked it in the Senate on Monday. Republicans have opposed any attempts to increase the debt limit.
Democrats will need to come up with a plan to prevent default, once Congress passes an appropriations legislation. On Tuesday, Republicans — who appear set on boxing their counterparts into increasing the ceiling as part of their massive investment in social programs and climate policy — blocked a motion that would have allowed Democrats to hike the debt limit with a simple majority vote.
Schumer said Wednesday that Congress would be in uncharted waters if it tried to increase the ceiling via budget reconciliation.
Schumer stated that raising the ceiling through budget reconciliation is “very risky.” He also said it was possible for Congress to default, even if one senator desired this. You can’t make it this way.
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