Congressional Democrats omitted instructions for raising the debt ceiling in the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package, risking a showdown with Republicans over the debt limit in September.
“The budget blueprint is expected to be voted on this week in the Senate soon after final passage of the Biden’s bipartisan $550 billion infrastructure package,” Bloomberg reported Monday. “It allows Democrats to bypass Republicans to expand the social safety net and raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.”
The text of the bill was released after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told congressional Democrats on Monday the debt limit ceiling should not be lifted in the reconciliation package.
Yellen told Congress to increase the debt ceiling via “regular order”:
In recent years Congress has addressed the debt limit through regular order, with broad bipartisan support. In fact, during the last administration, Democrats and Republicans came together to do their duty three times. Congress should do so again now by increasing or suspending the debt limit on a bipartisan basis.
The vast majority of the debt subject to the debt limit was accrued prior to the Administration taking office. This is a shared responsibility, and I urge Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis as it has in the past to protect the full faith and credit of the United States.
Democrats could have raised the debt ceiling through the reconciliation package, which is filibuster-proof, only needing a simple majority.
Punchbowl News reports Monday that “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly warned Democrats in recent weeks that they should include the debt-limit increase in a reconciliation package because Republicans won’t vote for it.”
“If Democrats include the debt language in a must-pass spending bill in September — which looks like it may happen now,” Punchbowl continues, “there’s a good chance that legislation will get blocked by the GOP, triggering a major showdown over the debt and government funding. The current national debt is well over $28 trillion.”