Biden: Change in Filibuster Rules to Raise Debt Ceiling a ‘Real Possibility’

President Joe Biden said that Democrats are thinking about changing the Senate’s rules to get around Republican obstruction and quickly approve lifting the nation’s debt limit. If they don’t, there will be a credit default.

The president’s remarks caught lawmakers by surprise, with the Senate mired in a fiscally dangerous impasse over a vote that is required to suspend America’s debt limit and allow the federal government to continue borrowing to pay down its debts.

According to the latest warning, Congress has just days left before the Treasury Department runs out of cash on Oct. 18.

Biden has thus far resisted changes to the filibuster rules over other issues. Still, his off-the-cuff remarks Tuesday night injected a new sense of urgency into an increasingly unpredictable situation. “It’s a reality,” Biden said while leaving the White House.

“Getting rid of the filibuster rule would lower the required 60-vote majority to 50.” In a tie vote, Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie for Democrats, allowing them to pass beyond Republicans in the Senate.

During a private Democratic Senate lunch session Tuesday, the subject came up as lawmakers became frustrated with McConnell’s refusal to allow a simple debt-limit vote. Instead, McConnell is forcing Democrats to go through what they consider an arduous process that will take days, if not weeks, away from their plan.

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Democratic senators have been discussing a variety of alternatives, including a carve-out to the chamber’s filibuster rules, in light of the Republicans’ attempts to block the vote.

However, invoking a change in Senate filibuster rules appears very unlikely because all Democratic senators need to agree. Schumer’s weekly news conference did not address — or reject — this one particular proposal.

Moreover, Schumer said that the Republicans should be quiet and let the Democrats pass a bill that has been approved by both houses of Congress.

“The best way to get this done is for Republicans to just get out of the way,”

McConnell also said that he wants to force Democrats to use the process he prefers, giving Republicans plenty of time to remind voters about the contentious legislation.

McConnell dug in on Tuesday as he refused to change his mind.

“They’ve had plenty of time to execute the debt ceiling increase,” McConnell said about the Democrats. “They need to do this — and the sooner they get about it, the better.”

Increasing the debt ceiling has become more complex over time, as it was once a simple procedure. Republicans, in particular, have used this to rail against government spending and the rising national debt burden, which presently stands at $28 trillion.

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The reality is that both sides have made expenditures on the debt, and the country has incurred a deficit on most years for decades.

This week, Biden and his allies finally settled on a strategy for overcoming Republican opposition to much of their plan: they’re going to use the filibuster.

Biden has not previously endorsed calls to end the filibuster for other subjects, such as voting law changes. However, his remarks may indicate a new phase. At least one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, was against it Tuesday.

This year, he and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have expressed concerns about ending the filibuster on other issues.

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