(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) The Senate voted on Thursday night to continue spending vast amounts of taxpayers’ money, extending the government’s borrowing authority into December and temporarily avoid a potential federal default.
Democrats voted lockstep 50–48 to balloon the government’s debt ceiling by nearly a half-trillion dollars, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., caved to the fiscal frenzy.
“Looks like Mitch McConnell is folding to the Democrats, again,” former President Donald Trump said in a statement, according to TownHall. “He’s got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it’s time to play the hand. Don’t let them destroy our Country!”
McConnell’s capitulation is almost a certain lead to an escalating spending spree. T
he two political sides (of ostensibly the same coin) were already jostling over how high to increase the debt ceiling, said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND.
Republicans had offered around $300 billion as the increase, Cramer said, while Democrats wanted even more.
That debate will take place as lawmakers also work to fund the federal government for the new fiscal year, which includes President Joe Biden’s politically-driven infrastructure plan with nearly $550 billion in new spending as well as a much more expansive, $3.5 trillion splurge for health, safety net programs and the environment.
McConnell’s concession to forfeit an upper hand in budget talks was not popular with more fiscally rational and realistic members of the Republican caucus, who said that the nation’s debt levels are unsustainable.
“I can’t vote to raise this debt ceiling, not right now, especially given the plans at play to increase spending immediately by another $3.5 trillion,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the Democrats had been on “a path to surrender” on the process used to lift the debt cap, “and then unfortunately, yesterday, Republicans blinked.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowsk, R-Alaska, was among those voting to end debate and allow a vote on the bill.
Eleven Republicans voted to end debate, providing the threshold needed to move the bill to a final vote. However, no Republicans sided with Democrats in the final vote for the measure.
McConnell has insisted that the majority party will have to increase the debt ceiling on its own—unless, of course, more folding and caving by Republicans like McConnell continues.
Congress has to act before Oct. 18 deadline, when the Treasury Department has warned it will run short of funds to handle the nation’s already accrued heavy debt load.
The House is likely to approve the measure next week.
After the Senate action, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced the House is being called back to session Tuesday evening for votes.
Republican leaders worked through the day to find the 10 votes they needed from their party to advance the debt limit extension to a final vote, with McConnell ultimately telling the senators he would be voting yes to limit debate.
The White House signaled Biden’s support, with principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean–Pierre saying the president would sign a bill to raise the debt limit.
Congress will again face a deadline in December to fund the government and raise the debt limit before heading home for the holidays.
The $480 billion increase in the debt ceiling is the level that the Treasury Department has said is needed through Dec. 3.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., made explicitly clear her feelings about the debt limit debacle and McConnell’s leading role.
“It’s the systemic failures of the Republican establishment who constantly compromise with the Hate America Communist Democrat Party that have led us to where we are now,” she said.
“Extending the debt ceiling just gives a comfy little padding and relieves the pressure off of Democrats to continue working their Socialist plans in the Green New Deal budget so they can please the Jihad Squad in the House.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press