Speed Reads

showdown looming

Republicans set the stage for another debt ceiling showdown

The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday warned that the Treasury Department "would probably run out of cash sometime" in October or November 2021 if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling from 22 trillion or extend a suspension on a limit enacted back in 2019.

Until then, the CBO said, the government could rely on "extraordinary measures" to keep paying its bills. But, ultimately, the question will come down to legislation — and it seems a showdown is brewing. Democrats want to raise the ceiling, but Republicans are unlikely to vote for an increase. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested to Punchbowl News on Wednesday that Democrats should include the measure in the $3.5 trillion budget deal they plan to pass through the process of reconciliation. 

McConnell was quickly criticized by Senate Democrats, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who argued his opposition was a sign of hypocrisy, since the GOP got behind raising the ceiling when former President Donald Trump was in office. "Nobody is going to hold the American economy hostage," Wyden said, per The Washington Post.

The Post notes that McConnell's comments "immediately invoked the specter of 2011, when [Republican] lawmakers similarly embarked on a game of brinkmanship over the debt limit under [former] President Barack Obama." That "nearly pushed the nation to default, a doomsday scenario in the eyes of economists that could wreak havoc globally," the Post writes. Read more at The Washington Post.