U.S. Senate to keep working until debt ceiling bill passed: Schumer
The U.S. Senate will remain in session until it passes a bill to lift the government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday. Some members are pushing him to allow amendment votes that could potentially delay the process.
The chamber has just four days left to pass the measure -- which would suspend the debt limit through January 1, 2025 -- and send it to President Joe Biden to sign, averting a catastrophic default.
"We will keep working until the job is done," Schumer said in a floor speech.
Schumer and his Republican counterpart Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to do all they could to speed along the bill negotiated by Biden and Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which would suspend the debt limit, essentially temporarily removing it, in exchange for a cap on spending.
It remains to be seen whether any members of their respective caucuses, particularly hardline Republicans who are angry that the bill does not include deeper spending cuts, will use the Senate's arcane rules to slow down its passage.
Some members were pushing Schumer to allow some votes on amendments to the bill, in exchange for allowing the overall package to pass more quickly. That is a common maneuver in the Senate but one that is not without risk, as if any of the amendments were to succeed, the bill would have to go back to the House.
There is little time for that as the Treasury Department warned it will be unable to pay all its bills on June 5 if Congress fails to act.
(Cover: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer departs the U.S. Capitol after the final vote of the week, May 18, 2023. /CFP)