The Senate voted 59-35 to concur in the House amendment to S. 610. The legislation will head to President Joe Biden's desk.
The legislation creates a temporary tweak to the Senate's rules, allowing the Senate to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling by bypassing the legislative filibuster. This would prevent Republicans from trying to block an increase in the debt ceiling as a means to stymie Biden's legislative agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) before the vote:
The nation's debt has been incurred on a bipartisan basis, so I'm pleased that this responsible action will be taken today to facilitate a process that avoids a default. This is the responsible path forward: no brinkmanship, no default on the debt, no risk of another recession.
The bipartisan deal left some Republicans upset, as they contend the deal helped Democrats further their agenda. “They have been spending money on a partisan basis without input from Republicans,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said.
Former President Donald Trump attacked Repblicans for working with Democrats on this bipartisan deal, saying, “The Dems would have folded completely if Mitch properly played his hand.”
The government may face a default on its debt if Congress fails to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling by December 15.
Schumer said earlier on Thursday that the bill would “provide a simple majority vote to fix the debt ceiling without having to resort to a convoluted, lengthy, and ultimately risky process.”
McConnell struck the accord with Schumer this month after trying to force Schumer and congressional Democrats to raise the debt ceiling through reconciliation.
Republicans earlier this fall agreed in early October to help Democrats temporarily raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion; however, after the vote, Schumer lambasted Republicans. After Schumer's Senate floor screed, McConnell promised that they would not help Democrats raise the debt ceiling.
McConnell even sent a letter to President Joe Biden saying he would “not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”
In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who voted against invoking cloture, said that Republicans should not enable Biden's spending spree, which includes the $1.7 trillion Build Back Better Act. He also opposed the debt ceiling's provision that would eliminate pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) offsets:
For months, Republicans gave President Joe Biden's social spending bill the accurate label: “the Democrats' reckless tax and spending spree.” Republicans, in unison, opposed the $2 trillion spending spree Democrats passed this spring. But now, Republican leadership is pushing a bill to forgive all that spending. According to the law that governs Congress's budget process, this spending has to be offset by equal cuts from somewhere else. The law is called PAYGO. But Republican leadership and Democrats are going to waive PAYGO, allowing Biden's spending spree to become debt instead of being offset by spending cuts.”
Rachel Bovard, the senior director of policy for the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), wrote for the Examiner that the proposal carries drastic implications, as it circumvents the “filibuster and allows Democrats to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes.”
In the twisted world of Washington, D.C., politics, this allows McConnell and the Senate GOP to claim they are technically keeping their pledge not to raise the debt ceiling after they vote for a bill creating the opportunity for Democrats to do it for them. What's more, the legislation allows the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling to whatever amount they choose. Literally, the bill provides a blank space for the number to be filled in. Presumably, they could insert the symbol for infinity, and Republicans would still happily tee up for the vote for them. Yes, I told you it was craven.
She also noted that the legislation grants Democrats the premise that the 60-vote filibuster threshold can be busted for certain “worthy” pieces of legislation.
Bovard said McConnell gave “Democrats a politically preferential precedent to demand similar filibuster carveouts in the future — for climate change, gun control, amnesty, take your pick.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.