Democrats prepare for plan B ahead of unlikely Senate approval to raise debt limit

·1 min read

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

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  • Absent passing a short-term funding bill, federal agencies will close down on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) say that's not an option, so they'll get this done.

  • That means Democrats, namely leadership, will likely have to do what they've spent the last month vowing they wouldn't: attach legislation that would increase the debt ceiling to their partisan reconciliation package.

What's next: Monday's vote is purely symbolic at this point, given Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Republicans have declared for weeks they won't support raising the debt ceiling.

  • A reminder: This is not normal.

  • Democrats still plan to use the failed bill to shame Republicans for what they'll characterize as voting for a shutdown and "careening our country toward a default," as Schumer put it last week.

As we reported last week, the Republicans' refusal to join Democrats in dealing with the nation's debt isn't typical of Congress, and their arguments for why are largely nonsensical.

  • The debt they're facing was mostly racked up under the Trump administration and the former Republican president's predecessors.

  • But McConnell has successfully made this a key talking point for his party ahead of the midterms, and a political public relations nightmare for Democrats.

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