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NEWS & ANALYSIS

GOP Senators Sign Pledge to Force Dems to Raise Debt Ceiling Without Them


46 republican senators signed a pledge to force their democrat counterparts to raise the debt ceiling through procedures that don’t rely on republican votes. 

The only republicans who didn’t sign on to the letter are Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Richard Shelby and John Kennedy. 

“They shouldn’t be expecting republicans to raise the debt ceiling to accommodate their deficit spending,” Sen. Ron Johnson, who circulated the letter, said. 

The democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget outline doesn’t include a measure to increase the U.S. government’s borrowing limit, the Wall Street Journal reports. Democrats plan to pass their anti-poverty and climate plan through reconciliation, which just requires a simple majority since the democrats don’t have the 60 votes needed in the regular process. 

“This debt ceiling is going to cover all of the things that all of us have been opposing,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, adding that democrats “need to do the responsible thing and raise the debt ceiling, because America must never default on its debt.” 

Raising the debt ceiling ultimately allows the Treasury Department to issue new debt to cover spending that Congress has already authorized. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimated cumulative budget deficits will total $12 trillion over the next 10 years due to rising costs of programs like Medicare and Social Security. 

Indeed, in the letter, republicans argue that democrats need to take responsibility for their spending, including the massive coronavirus-relief package that previously passed through the Senate without republican support. 

“Democrats, at any time, have the power through reconciliation to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, and they should not be allowed to pretend otherwise,” the letter reads.