Pelosi floats Democrats acting alone as ‘one path’ to raising debt ceiling but still hopes for bipartisanship
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday suggested that the budget reconciliation process could be one way toward raising the debt ceiling in December.
“That’s one path. But we’re still hoping to have bipartisanship,” Pelosi told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
In September, Pelosi previously said raising the debt ceiling would not be done through reconciliation as part of the Democrats’ sweeping social safety net package, which President Joe Biden and leaders in his party are still negotiating.
Congress earlier this month approved an extension of the nation’s debt limit through December 3, averting an economic crisis only to have to deal with it again in a few more weeks.
Republicans have insisted that Democrats act alone to address the debt limit by using reconciliation, which allows senators to bypass the typical 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster and advance legislation. Democrats, however, argue that the issue is a bipartisan responsibility and have largely dismissed reconciliation as an option, arguing it’s a too-lengthy and risky process.
Another concern for Democrats raising the debt limit through reconciliation is that it would require Democrats to vote for exactly how much they want to raise it by — an incredibly tough vote for Democrats running for reelection.
After helping pass the temporary extension, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned Biden that he would not provide “such assistance again,” writing: “I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”
On Sunday, Pelosi argued that former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts bill had helped the national debt balloon.
She acknowledged that Democrats participated in adding dollars to the national debt with voting to support Covid-19 relief packages, but argued that Biden has played less of a part in increasing the debt.
She knocked Republicans for voting to increase the debt ceiling during Trump’s presidency but not during a Democratic administration.
“It seems they’re okay with it when there’s a Republican president but not a Democrat. Six to 7 million jobs could be lost, $15 trillion dollars in household wealth — consequences that could last for decades,” she said.
Appearing later on the same program, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN she considers it “utterly essential that the debt ceiling be raised,” while warning that it would be “utterly catastrophic” if the US were to default.
“I personally believe this is a responsibility that Republicans and Democrats should share, that it’s something that both parties should do together,” she told Tapper on Sunday. “It’s a housekeeping matter, doing what’s necessary to pay our bills. I have confidence it will get done, but I will leave it to the Speaker and to Leader (Chuck) Schumer to figure out what the best way is forward on that.”