Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) demanded Tuesday that Republicans nuke the Senate’s filibuster rule that requires legislation receive 60 votes to pass so Democrats can raise the debt ceiling.
“If Senate Republicans want to force Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling on our own, then all they have to do is allow us to remove the 60 vote threshold,” Durbin said about the filibuster. “They’ll have the chance to do so shortly on the Senate floor. I urge them to take it.”
Speaking outside the Senate chamber, Durbin blamed Republicans for the Democrat’s predicament. “It is his [McConnell’s] design, his strategy that is resulting in all of this,” Durbin said.
After he lashed out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Durbin then shifted to blaming former President Trump for the Democrats uncomfortable situation.
If Senate Republicans want to force Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling on our own, then all they have to do is allow us to remove the 60 vote threshold. They’ll have the chance to do so shortly on the Senate floor. I urge them to take it. pic.twitter.com/n1to5tveeD
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) September 28, 2021
“This debt ceiling reflects the largest increase in the federal deficit in the history of the United States during the four years of Donald Trump, supported all the way by Sen. McConnell and the Republican senators,” he claimed.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, however, that eliminating the filibuster is not up for consideration. “The president’s position has not changed on that,” she said.
The Democrat-led Senate on Monday failed to approve a House-passed bill that would raise the debt ceiling through the 2022 midterm elections and fund the government for a few months. As a result, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly told House Democrats she will create a new bill that excludes the debt ceiling provision and simply funds the government — what is called a “clean” continuing resolution (CR).
Senate Republicans have signaled they will approve a House bill to keep the government open but will continue to keep the pressure on Democrats to face the debt ceiling issue, along with passing Biden’s massive tax and spend measures. However, leftist House Democrat efforts to exclude funding for Israel’s Iron Dome also remains a sticking point between the two chambers and two parties — but generally speaking they are widely expected to agree to an otherwise clean CR to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.
As for the debt limit, though, Senate Republicans have made clear they think it is the Democrats’ problem to solve and they will not help them raise it.
“Democrats control the entire government—the Senate, the House and the White House. They intend to sideline Republicans and go it alone to slam American families with historic tax hikes and borrowing,” McConnell said Tuesday “So they will need to raise the debt limit on a partisan basis as well.”
A recent poll indicates if a government shutdown occurred because the Democrats are unable to pay the U.S. debt, Americans would blame Democrats and not Republicans. Thirty-three percent said they would blame Democrats. Sixteen percent said they would blame Republicans.
The Democrats’ panic over being blamed for the situation has caused the media to ask Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) if the debt ceiling should be raised in the reconciliation package. “Going through the reconciliation is risky for the country and is a nonstarter,” Schumer said in response.
Questions remain how the debt ceiling will be raised. “Right now that question remains up in the air,” Psaki admitted at the Monday press briefing.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø