“What Republicans are doing is nothing short of a dine-and-dash of historic proportions,” Mr. Schumer said in a speech on Monday. “It’s not just another partisan fight. It’s about avoiding the crisis that would undo all the progress our country has made to heal itself of the Covid crisis.”
At least one Republican, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, said on Monday that he was inclined to support the measure because of the disaster aid.
“I will likely vote yes, but it’s not going to pass because there won’t be 10 Republican votes,” he said. “But for the disaster relief, no, oh no, I wouldn’t vote for this. This is a manufactured crisis.”
A failure to pass the legislation could cause a disaster, with just 10 days before government funding is set to lapse. Should lawmakers fail to approve an increase in the debt limit in the coming weeks, the government could default on its debt for the first time. That, in turn, could prompt a financial crisis, or at least a crisis of confidence in the creditworthiness and governance of the United States.
Republicans argue that Democrats can lift the debt limit on their own, given that they can essentially reopen the budget blueprint they are using to push through Mr. Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic package. But adding a debt ceiling increase would be an arduous and politically fraught task, and Democrats have rejected the suggestion.
“I personally would like to see a clean vote on a debt ceiling so that Republicans actually have to go on the record on that vote only and not mix it with a funding measure,” said Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaking on “Fox News Sunday.” “But ultimately, the most important thing is to get both of them done.”
Even as they demand Republicans’ cooperation, Democratic leaders have signaled for weeks that they are not willing to offer concessions in exchange for their votes on a debt ceiling increase. Lawmakers were also still negotiating the details of the relief for Afghan refugees and natural disasters, as well as an extension of a number of programs set to expire at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.