Democrats could raise the ceiling by themselves, but they want Republicans to let them off the hook by supplying the votes they’d prefer not to cast.
“I can’t believe the Republicans will let the nation default” by not raising the debt limit, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently asserted at a news conference, accompanied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Schumer’s rhetoric is pure partisan gaslighting. After all, Democrats control the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives. They could have raised the debt limit by themselves without needing a single Republican vote.
All the Democrats had to do was include debt limit instructions in either of the two budget resolutions that they passed this year. This would have allowed them to attach an increase in Washington’s borrowing authority to the reconciliation bills—which are not subject to filibuster and thus can pass the Senate with only the 50 Democratic votes. Republican opposition would be irrelevant, as they would be powerless to stop the Democrats.
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