Congress Nears Debt Limit Deadline

No deals are currently on the horizon.

The deadline to increase the federal debt limit is only weeks away—December 15. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky do not appear to be close to a deal. 

Both leaders want to avoid another standoff that could compromise the nation’s credit rating and have stepped back from contentious rhetoric. According to Senators and Senate aides, there are no easy ways forward. 

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania has proposed that they use the budget reconciliation process to raise the debt limit. The problem with this option is that it would require two long series of votes on amendments — known as vote-a-ramas — to first amend the 2022 budget resolution to establish a new reconciliation instruction and then to pass the vehicle that would raise the debt limit. 

Another option would be for the minority to let majority members advance long-term legislation under regular order but insist the measure raise the debt limit to a specific number instead of merely postponing it until after the 2022 midterm elections. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the impasse is fueling predictions within the Senate to find a way to push the deadline for increasing the nation’s borrowing authority until January or February. However, if the Treasury Department is unable to come up with additional “extraordinary measures” to keep the government funded past mid-December, the matter could eat up at least a week of floor time as legislators scramble to avoid a national default while still considering the passage of the Build Back Better Act before the end of the year. 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For members of Congress to have wisdom as they negotiate debt limit issues.
  • For officials in the Treasury Department as they seek measures to keep the government operational in the event an agreement is not reached. 
  • For budget committee members as they assess the debt limit and its potential impact on the recently-passed infrastructure package and the coming Build Back Better Act. 

Sources: The Hill, CNBC 


Back to top