Debt ceiling procedural bill set for House vote Tuesday night
The Senate would next vote and add specifics, such as a timeframe for a debt extension or a new ceiling level
The House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday night on a procedural bill addressing the looming need to raise the debt ceiling.
If the bill passes, the Senate would then identify the length of a debt ceiling suspension or a dollar figure increase. It remains unclear what those figures would be.
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A simple majority is needed to pass the measure, which means that Democrats don’t need any Republican support to move the bill forward.
The Senate is likely to vote on that procedural framework on Thursday.
Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram reported that it is doubtful that either chamber will vote on the actual bill to suspend or raise the debt ceiling until the middle of next week.
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"I cannot overstate how critical it is that Congress address this issue," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday, explaining that the debt ceiling must be raised by the December 15 deadline. "America must pay its bills on time and in full. If we do not, we will eviscerate our current recovery in a matter of days. The majority of Americans would suffer financial pain as critical payments like Social Security checks and military paychecks would not reach their bank accounts. And that would likely be followed by a deep recession."
Yellen added that she was unable to guarantee the Treasury Department’s liquidity on Dec. 16 if an agreement is not made.
Fox News was told that Congress could fill in some fiscal "grout" into the bill that would backfill any potential missed payments from the Treasury if the deadline is breached.
"I believe we've reached here a solution to the debt ceiling issue that's consistent with Republican views of raising the debt ceiling for this amount at this particular time and allows the Democrats to proudly own it," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
Not all Republicans were in step with their leader.
"I don't support raising the debt ceiling," said Sen. Rick Scott of Florida.
Others were undecided. "I want to see some text and I want to understand what this actually amounts to," said Josh Hawley of Missouri.
Multiple senators said the proposal puts them "between a rock and a hard place" because it is linked to a bill preventing cuts to Medicare, which they support.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a press release Tuesday in support of the procedural path forward.
"Once the Senate has passed the legislation lifting the debt limit, the House will take up that bill and send it to the President," she said.
No Republicans voted in October to assist Democrats in raising the debt ceiling, but enough GOP senators voted "yea" on a procedural measure to suspend the filibuster with respect to the matter, which opened a path for Senate Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own.
"We folded," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in October.
The debt ceiling fight comes at the same time Democrats are attempting to pass President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending bill by Christmas using the Senate reconciliation process to skirt a Republican filibuster.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Tyler Olson contributed to this report