Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader has floated options to Congress in an effort to raise US debt ceiling and avoid the protracted standoff between the Republicans and the Democrats in the House.
Democrats and Republicans have been locked in an impasse over how to raise the nation’s debt ceiling before the October 18 deadline, with the McConnell-led GOP refusing to back the democrats with the needed votes to pull the legislation through.
It was the first significant step by both parties to break the deadlock, even though it is not immediately clear if the proposition will be palatable for both parties.
When asked if the Democrats would accept the proposition by the Republicans, Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip, speaking with CNN on Wednesday said that Democrats are “waiting to see it.”
Durbin, who had earlier accused Senator Mitch McConnell of playing with a loaded weapon said any offer that involved applying the budget reconciliation process would not be tenable.
McConnell, in a statement on Wednesday, said that Republicans have “already made it clear” that they would “assist in expediting” a process known as reconciliation, which would allow the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling without Republican votes.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have vehemently rejected using the reconciliation process, an option they believe will be fraught with disastrous consequences on the economy.
McConnell also said that Republicans “will also allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December.”
He said deliberations are ongoing to perfect language on a means of extending the debt ceiling for two months.
“We’re trading paper, which you always do at this point,” McConnell said.
A member of Democratic leadership, Senator Debbie Stabenow confirmed that the proposal from the GOP leader is being drafted into legislative language.
“At this point we have no language. There is an idea, there is a proposal, (but) there is no proposal in writing,” she said.
The Senate was due to take a procedural vote on Wednesday afternoon on advancing a House-passed bill in order to suspend the debt ceiling until next December, a move Republicans were expected to vote against.
In the light of recent events, particularly the proposal by Senator McConnell, that vote has now been postponed in the hope that both parties can come to a reasonable compromise.
Republicans believe that Democrats, who control both chambers of Congress and the Presidency should sort out the extension of the debt ceiling alone, but Democrats have fumed at the position of the GOP since the spending bills leading up to the debt ceiling had been voted for by both parties.
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