Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, rejected his party’s plan to raise the federal debt limit via reconciliation.
“That is a non-starter. Using reconciliation is a non-starter,” he said when asked about the plan this week.
Durbin said he and several other Democrats share concerns about Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., plan to use budget reconciliation to raise the debt limit without Republican support because of how complicated the process would be.
“It takes him about 15 minutes … to explain how that works, what it involves — three or four weeks of activity in the House and the Senate,” Durbin said. “This notion, ‘Oh you just stick it on reconciliation,’ is a non-starter.”
However, the rest of Democrat leadership is determined to press ahead despite their colleagues’ concerns.
Schumer plans to ask his caucus for unanimous consent so they can bypass Republicans and raise the debt limit unilaterally.
“We would get consent that you only need 50 votes, not 60, on this vote to increase the debt limit, and that’s what happened in the past,” Schumer said on Tuesday. “So if Republicans want to abscond from their responsibilities—not vote to pay the debt they incurred—so be it. That’s a bad thing, that’s a bad precedent. But this is the way out. It is a way out.”
The entire Senate Republican conference voted on Monday to suspend the debt limit until December 2022 to prevent Democrats from passing President Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion spending bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pointed out that Democrats can raise the debt limit on their own via reconciliation, but argued Republicans would not enable Biden to continue his spending spree.
“There never had to be one ounce of drama to any of this. Any drama here is self-created by the Democrats,” McConnell said.