Senator Mitt Romney has said he will back Republicans in the upper house by obstructing a vote to raise the debt ceiling, as the GOP’s standoff with Democrats deepens over the prospect of a unprecedented government default.
The stakes could not be higher before the Senate vote scheduled for Wednesday on whether to pass legislation to raise the government’s debt ceiling by $ 28.4 trillion until December 2022.
Both sides remain deadlocked over raising the debt limit ahead of the Oct. 18 deadline, beyond which the Treasury Department warned it would run out of funds to repay the accumulated debt.
But with 10 Republican senators required to cross the 60 threshold for the vote to pass, the legislation is set to fail. An obstruction by Republicans would prevent the Democrat-controlled Senate from even debating a measure to raise the debt ceiling.
Senate Republicans have blocked votes on raising the debt ceiling twice in the past two weeks. In comments to reporters on Tuesday, Romney suggested this would continue.
“We are not voting in any way to help raise the debt ceiling. As a group, we are all together,” Romney said in comments tweeted by Bloomberg and reported by Salt Lake City Grandstand in his country of origin.
News week contacted Romney’s office for comment.
A default would trigger a fiscal crisis that would hit the markets, the government, and ordinary Americans. Rating firm Moody’s said in September that a default could lead to a 4% slump in economic activity, the loss of nearly 6 million jobs and a sale of shares that could wipe out $ 15 trillion. household wealth dollars.
Democrats’ frustration with the GOP is growing, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying, “The best way to do this is just for Republicans to step aside.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats should force the debt ceiling measure through the budget reconciliation process, which does not need GOP support, to get around the rule of law. filibuster, but Schumer rejected this approach.
However, moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, an obstacle to passing the Biden administration’s $ 3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, suggested the reconciliation process should be considered, telling CNN, ” they shouldn’t exclude anything “.
Meanwhile, Democrats were considering an even more sweeping approach by bypassing Senate filibuster rules to gain early approval to raise the debt ceiling.
This would involve making an exception to allow the bill to pass by a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes required.
Some Democrats have said that if tackling filibuster is the only option left, the party could get 50 votes for the rule change, The New York Times reported. “I think that’s a real possibility,” Biden told reporters Tuesday.