Senate Democrats Discuss Creating Filibuster Exemption For Debt Ceiling: Reports

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats circulated the idea of making an exemption from the filibuster to solve the debt ceiling situation, according to new reports. 

As reported by The Hill: 

The idea was brought up during a closed-door caucus lunch on Tuesday, sources confirmed to The Hill, as Democrats try to figure out how to avoid a historic debt default. 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who told reporters as recently as Monday that there were not active talks, confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that Democrats are now discussing a filibuster carveout for the debt ceiling. 

“There are discussions,” he told The Hill, asked about the status of potential talks.

To make such a move, all 50 Democrats, plus Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, would need to be on board. 

“We have very few options right now, so one of the options clearly is to have a narrow change in rules,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) reportedly said. “I don’t know where all my colleagues are,” he added in an apparent allusion to the position of his fellow Democrats. 

Politico also reported, “During their caucus lunch Tuesday, Senate Democrats discussed potentially excluding the debt ceiling from Senate filibuster rules, according to several people familiar with the matter.”

The outlet added that “the idea [of a potential carveout for the debt limit] appears more popular within the caucus than going through the strenuous motions of reconciliation after Wednesday’s vote to suspend the debt ceiling likely ends in a filibuster.”

The Democrats’ efforts, however, are not guaranteed to be successful due to likely holdouts such as moderate Democratic Senator of West Virginia Joe Manchin.

Manchin discussed the topic on Monday, saying at the time, “The filibuster has nothing to do with debt ceiling. Basically, we have other tools that we can use, and if we have to use them, we should use them.”

Republicans in the Senate have pushed back on raising the debt limit with Democrats, instead opting to force the majority party to do so without Republican support. 

During remarks from the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Democrats could not be more capable of handling this on their own. Just months ago, the Democratic Leader won new powers to reuse reconciliation over and over. They don’t even need our consent to set a vote at 51 instead of 60. They need even less help raising the debt limit than majorities needed in the past.”

“The majority doesn’t need our votes. They just want a… bipartisan shortcut around procedural hurdles they can actually clear on their own. And they want that shortcut so they can pivot right back to partisan spending as fast as possible,” he added. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to Democrats on Monday in which he laid out a schedule for passing the current bills being debated in Congress, and raising the debt ceiling. 

“Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: we must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period,” Schumer wrote in the letter. 

“We do not have the luxury of waiting until October 18th, as it is our responsibility to re-assure the world that the United States meets our obligations in a timely fashion and that the full faith and credit of the United States should never be in question. The consequences of even approaching the X date could be disastrous for our economy and devastating to American families,” Schumer added.

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