Senate Reaches Formal Deal on Debt Limit but Not Everyone Is Happy

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came to an agreement on the deal to extend the debt limit until December.

We reported yesterday that McConnell had made a surprise offer to the Democrats and that Democrats were indicating that they intended to accept his deal.

McConnell said they’d come to a formal agreement.

From The Daily Mail:

‘The majority didn’t have a plan to prevent default. So we stepped forward,’ he said in remarks on the Senate floor.

The Senate will hike the debt limit by $480 billion, which is what the Treasury Department says it needs to get the nation to Dec. 3. The current debt limit is $28.4 trillion.

McConnell said he made the offer because he wants them to use the reconciliation process to pass a debt limit raise. While he offered this temporary limited extension he said there would be no such offer for after Dec. 3.

It’s not clear that they will hold a vote today, there’s some reporting that it might run into the weekend.

Part of the problem is there are multiple Republicans who were not happy that McConnell seemingly let the Democrats off the hook with the short-term extension idea. Among the people not at all happy was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

From Fox News:

“The argument made yesterday was, well, this may be more pressure than two Democratic senators can stand regarding changing the filibuster rules. That, to me, is not a very good reason,” Graham said. [….]

“I think this is just a mistake,” Graham said. “I don’t understand why here at the very end we did this fold, because what you’re gonna do is you’re going to embolden his folks. And I’m not going to live under the threat of the filibuster being changed every time we have a fight. I didn’t do that when we were in charge. If they want to change the filibuster, change it.”

So we’ll have to see where those who have issues land in a vote on all this.

If McConnell did it because he felt that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) would move on the filibuster, that doesn’t seem like that was happening.

Both he and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have been very consistent on that thought.

But while it might give Democrats breathing room, it doesn’t change the nature of the question that they still have to deal with the greater debt limit question past Dec. 3 — whether to do that through reconciliation — and now they no longer have a time excuse if they have this short-term extension deal.