If funding is stopped on Sept. 30, which is the end of fiscal year, the federal government will be shut down. This happens at midnight on Thursday next week. If borrowing limits are not adjusted or waived, the U.S. could default on its accumulated debt loads at some point in October.
The Democratic-led House approved the measure Tuesday night in a party-line vote 220-211. Now, the bill will be sent to the Senate where it is likely that it will fail because of overwhelming GOP opposition.
"Our country will suffer greatly" was the message from House Majority Leader StenyHoyer, D.Md., shortly before the vote.
The White House supported the Democratic leaders in pushing the package to approval during a period of uncertainty in Congress. While lawmakers were already debating the $3.5 trillion cost of President Joe Biden’s broad "build back stronger" agenda, attention was immediately drawn to the deadlines that will help to avoid deeper problems in the event that votes to increase government funding fail.
The Tuesday approved package would provide temporary money to keep government funded through Dec. 3, and extend borrowing authority until the end of 2022. It provides $28.6B in disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Ida, as well as $6.3B to assist Afghan evacuees following the end of the 20 year war.
Although suspending the debt limit allows the government to fulfill financial obligations that it has already incurred, Republicans argue it will also encourage a spending spree in the months ahead.
"I will not sign a blank cheque as this majority advances the most reckless expansion government in decades," stated Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) during the debate.
Senator Republican leader Mitch McConnell stated that Democrats control Congress and the White House, so it is their problem to find votes. This despite the fact that he relied on bipartisan cooperation in approving the debt limits while Republicans were in power.
McConnell stated that the debt ceiling would be raised as it should have been, but it would be raised by Democrats.
Democrats in the 50-50 Senate will have difficulty finding 10 Republicans who can reach the 60 votes threshold to defeat a filibuster.
"This is playing in fire," stated Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader.