Vote to advance debt limit increase to fail in Senate Wednesday, as Congress marches toward crisis

The United States will default on its debt in 12 days if Congress does not act

The building battle over how to raise the debt ceiling will come to a head Wednesday afternoon when Republicans are expected to filibuster a procedural vote on raising the debt ceiling.

The vote, scheduled for sometime after 2 p.m., will require 60 yeas. But Republicans have been very clear that they intend to vote against it uniformly.

As punishment for spending trillions of dollars without GOP input via budget reconciliation, Republicans want Democrats to use the same process to raise the debt ceiling. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Republicans have no demands and do not intend to compromise – they are locked into their protest. 

And even the most moderate GOP members like Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, are on board with the strategy.


"There is already an existing carveout where Democrats can do it themselves—it’s called reconciliation," Romney tweeted Tuesday in response to a commentator suggesting Democrats change the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling.

So Democrats' plan will fail. And with 12 days until the U.S. will default on its debt, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, they do not have another one.

Some Democrats have indicated they may be open to raising the debt ceiling via reconciliation if they absolutely have to. But Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said that is not on the table.

Others have batted around the idea of partially nuking the filibuster in order to raise the debt ceiling. But Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., dismissed that idea on Monday. Nuking the filibuster for the debt ceiling could create a slippery slope of it being eliminated for other issues too.

"We have other tools we can use," Manchin said. "And if we have to use them, we should."


And yet more Democrats have said that the Treasury should print a $1 trillion coin, or that President Biden should claim the power to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. But those have been dismissed by experts as likely to cause the kind of panic and uncertainty in the economy that an orderly lifting of the debt ceiling is meant to avoid.

All with 12 days until the U.S. will default on its debt.

Republicans, meanwhile, have said over and over and over that they will not cave and help Democrats raise the debt ceiling.

"The majority doesn’t need our votes. They just want a bipartisan shortcut around procedural hurdles they can clear on their own," McConnell said on the Senate floor this week. "And they want that shortcut so they can pivot right back to partisan spending as fast as possible. They want a bipartisan shortcut to get right back to more partisan hardball! And Republicans have spent two and a half months explaining they will not get it."

He added: "The majority needs to stop sleepwalking toward yet another preventable crisis. Democrats need to tackle the debt limit. We gave them a road map and three months’ notice. I suggest that our colleagues get moving."


The fact is, either party could guarantee that the debt limit gets increased if it decides to do so.

Republicans could vote for a procedural "cloture" vote then allow Democrats to pass the final debt limit increase on party lines.

Or Democrats could use the same reconciliation process they have been more than happy to use on their massive spending bills this year.

But so far neither side appears to be budging.

With just 12 days until the U.S. defaults on its debt.

FOX Business' Jason Donner contributed to this report.