If funding is not restored by the end of the fiscal Year, Sept. 30, midnight next Thursday, the federal government will be in shutdown. The U.S. could also default on its debt load if borrowing limits aren't waived or adjusted.
The Tuesday package would provide temporary money to keep government funding up to December 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 20-year conflict.
"It is crucial that Congress quickly pass this legislation," stated Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn), chairwoman of the Appropriations committee in a statement. Tuesday afternoon was the expected date for the vote.
The White House supported Democratic congressional leaders in pushing ahead during a period of uncertainty in Congress. While lawmakers were already working on President Joe Biden’s broad "build back stronger" agenda at $3.5 trillion, the immediate focus was on deadlines to avoid deeper problems in the event that votes to increase government funding fall short.
Senator Republican leader Mitch McConnell stated that he wasn't going to pay past debts, when Biden was set to add more to his budget with a reckless tax and spending package.
"Since Democrats have decided to do it all, they won't get Senate Republicans' support in raising the debt limit. McConnell stated Monday that McConnell had repeatedly explained the issue clearly for more than two months.
Even if Tuesday’s vote is approved in the House by Democrats, it will likely languish at the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats will have a hard time finding 10 Republicans who can reach the 60 votes threshold to defeat a filibuster.
The Treasury Department stated that it would soon run out cash and will have to rely upon incoming receipts in order to pay its obligations of $28.4 trillion. This could lead to the Treasury having to delay or miss payments.
Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "Doing so would likely precipitate a historical financial crisis."
Since 2011, when tea party lawmakers refused to allow an increase in the debt ceiling, it has been a routine issue. They argued against spending more and the standoff led to a fiscal crisis.
McConnell, echoing this strategy, is refusing Republican votes even though he relied on Democratic votes to raise the debt ceiling in the past when his party was the majority.