Manchin: Debt ceiling hike through budget reconciliation is Dems' 'responsibility'

Manchin said authority over the debt limit should shift to the president in the future

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., argued Tuesday that Democratic lawmakers will have a "responsibility" to raise the debt ceiling through the budget reconciliation process later this year if Republicans follow through on their threat not to support an extension.

When asked about the situation during an appearance at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Manchin said authority over the debt limit should ideally shift to the president to ensure political disputes don’t lead to a default.

"The debt limit should be 14th Amendment, that the President has the right to make that decision. We have the right to override if we think he went too far. That, to me, is the simplest."

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to the Economic Club, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP Newsroom)


Democrats passed a short-term debt ceiling hike earlier this month after Republicans blocked several previous attempts. The $480 billion hike allowed the federal government to cover its debts through at least early December, though GOP leaders have warned Democrats will have to dictate a longer-term extension through the complicated budget reconciliation process on President Biden’s social spending bill.

Manchin said he was "pushing" for lawmakers to find a bipartisan solution to address the debt ceiling debate long before the federal government reaches its current limit. However, he acknowledged Democrats would have to use budget reconciliation if an agreement or other procedural change is not implemented.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., walks through the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 21, 2021. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz) (Reuters Photos)

"It should not come down to the limit again," Manchin said. "If we can’t do it and they don’t agree on that, the Democrats have a responsibility, being the majority party right now, to do it through reconciliation. When you do it through reconciliation, you’ve got to set a number. That’s our responsibility and I will take that and do it."

Democratic leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have said the prospect of using budget reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling is a non-starter because it is too complicated and risky. But Republicans have said they will not cast votes to ease the process toward a resolution, arguing any hike would clear the way for Democrats to implement vast social packages.

Janet Yellen

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference, after attending the G7 finance ministers meeting, at Winfield House in London, Britain June 5, 2021.  (Justin Tallis/Pool via REUTERS / Reuters Photos)


The dispute has prompted calls among some prominent figures, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to abolish the debt ceiling entirely.