House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., leaves the chamber during debate on a bill to avert a government shutdown and suspend the debt limit, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday evening, Sept. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
UPDATED 9:47 AM PT – Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Measures to prevent a government shutdown passed in the House and are now headed to the Senate. In a party line vote Tuesday, all House Democrats supported a bill to fund the government through the beginning of December. The bill also suspends the debt ceiling until the end of 2022.
“On this vote, the yeas are 220 and the nays are 211 with zero answering present. The bill has passed.”
— Rep. Frank Mrvan, (D-Ind.).
In the lower chamber before passage, the bill was criticized by many Republicans. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) took to the House floor to slam Democrats for trying to force it through. He believes they know they are on the way out from the majority at the midterms, so they need to spend now before they are seen as responsible for the strife a spending spree will cause.
Meuser also said the Democrats are trying to get Republicans to sign onto a socialist wishlist.
“This is nothing short of Big Government socialism, suffocating free market capitalism while this bill works its way through Congress,” he stated. “Democrats are asking Republicans to sign a blank check for their reckless spending. The Democrats are asking us to suspend the debt ceiling for the remainder of their time in the majority to finance reckless spending while we stand on the sidelines, which we’re not going to do.”
Democrats do not seem to see the hazards of more spending. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the bill is necessary to avoid a shutdown and continue providing necessary services to those affected by natural disasters. He also said that a default of U.S. debt would be disastrous for the global economy, which the debt bill solves by suspending the debt ceiling.
Hoyer believes nobody in the House should vote against the bill as the high debt is the fault of Democrats and Republicans alike.
“This is not a Democratic debt, it’s not a Republican debt,” he stated. “It is our debt…is the debt of the United States of America. We don’t welch on our debts. We pay our debts.”
Passing through the House, the bill now goes to the evenly divided Senate where it is expected to meet stiff opposition. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been adamant that Republicans should not vote to raise the ceiling. Democrats, so says the Kentucky Republican, need to own the inflation that will follow an increase in debt.
While working with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), McConnell proposed an alternative short-term solution, which would continue funding the government and avoid a shutdown without raising the debt ceiling. He said the U.S. must provide disaster relief and assistance for Afghans.
Nevertheless, should the House-backed plan overcome the filibuster in the Senate, it would fund the government through December 3 and suspend the debt ceiling until after the 2022 midterms. If lawmakers can not agree, they risk a government shut down October 1.