Biden floats nuclear option to counter filibuster on debt ceiling

Biden floats nuclear option to counter filibuster on debt ceiling
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President Joe Biden said it is a “real possibility” that Senate Democrats could seek to revise the chamber’s filibuster rules to overcome a Republican blockade on raising the debt ceiling.

The president made his comments late Tuesday night amid a partisan standoff in Congress over raising the government’s debt ceiling, which threatens the federal government’s credit rating and the global economy. When asked about Democrats utilizing the "nuclear option" to prevent Republicans from filibustering to raise the debt limit, Biden said, “Oh, I think that’s a real possibility.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told reporters on Capitol Hill earlier this week there were no active discussions over a filibuster carveout. On Tuesday, he adjusted to say "there are discussions" about the matter, according to The Hill.

Lawmakers in favor of a filibuster carveout argue the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, which is needed to end debate on a piece of legislation, does not apply to the debt ceiling. Democrats contend a rise in the debt ceiling should require a simple majority of 51 votes. The total 50-member conference,e along with Vice President Kamala Harris's tiebreaking vote, could meet the requirements for a nuclear option, though it's unclear if party unity will prevail.


“We have very few options right now, so one of the options clearly is to have a narrow change in rules,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. "I don’t know where all my colleagues are."

Republicans want big-spending Democrats to raise the limit themselves, while the latter accuse GOP lawmakers of playing political games and say the debt ceiling should not be a partisan issue. Biden has criticized Republicans' inaction as Congress faces an Oct. 18 deadline to allow for more borrowing to keep the government functional after accruing an all-time high public debt of $28.4 trillion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to budge in favor of lending Republican support to pass the bill to raise the debt ceiling.

“There is no scenario in God's green Earth where it should be worth risking millions of jobs, trillions in household wealth, people's social security checks, veterans’ benefits, and another recession, just to score short-term meaningless political points,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a floor speech, warning McConnell was leading the nation, and the globe, off a fiscal cliff. “That's what Republicans seem fixated on doing.”

The House has passed a measure on Sept. 21 to suspend the debt limit, but McConnell encouraged Biden on Monday to convince members of Congress to raise the debt limit along party lines.


All eyes are on centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, who has opposed ending the filibuster "under no circumstances." Progressives have also urged the West Virginia Democrat and fellow centrist Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to budge in favor of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which failed to enter voting deliberations last week after both opposed the price tag for the measure.

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Tags: News, Joe Biden, Filibuster, Senate GOP, Infrastructure

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Biden floats nuclear option to counter filibuster on debt ceiling

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