The United States House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would fund the government through Dec. 3 and suspend the borrowing limit until 2022. Virginia’s delegation voted along party lines with all of Virginia’s seven Democratic representatives voting in favor of the bill, and all four of Virginia’s four Republican representatives voting against the bill that would temporarily suspend the debt ceiling.
If the legislation is unable to pass in the Senate, a partial government shutdown could take place – risking a default for the first time in modern history. “The bill would also avert a default that could wreck the U.S. economy and destroy huge numbers of jobs,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08) after voting for the bill.
Democrats only have 50 votes in the Senate and would need 60 to change the debt ceiling.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to not raise the debt limit, but he has also said a default will not happen. ”America must never default. We never have and we never will.”
Democrats could change the debt ceiling through reconciliation which would bring the requirement down to a simple majority for passage. They have resisted doing that, so far. They can only pass three reconciliation bills each year.
The House voted on strict party lines to pass the bill 220-211.
“Particularly as we rebuild from the damage caused by the pandemic, a government shutdown would be beyond reckless,” said Virginia Congresswoman, Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07). “While I continue to speak out against these Groundhog Day, short-term government funding processes, keeping our government open and preventing our nation from defaulting on its debts is the responsible course of action for Central Virginia and the country. Doing otherwise would be a dereliction of our basic duty as lawmakers.”
The four Republicans that voted against the bill did not comment immediately after the vote. Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA06) commented on the proposed legislation prior to the vote Tuesday. ”Continuing resolutions prevent Federal agencies from properly budgeting for the year, wasting massive amounts of time and money,” Cline tweeted. “This, coupled with Democrats’ plan to raise the debt ceiling to pay for their $3.5 TRILLION tax and spend spree, is the epitome of poor governance.”
House Democrats urged the Senate to pass the legislation Tuesday night. “We cannot allow the stability of our economy and the progress we’ve made to rebuild from COVID to become a casualty of partisan politics,” said Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10). “It is imperative that the Senate swiftly take steps to pay the bill for money already spent, including Social Security payments, veterans benefits, and critical COVID relief programs.”
McConnell presented his own bill with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) that would provide stopgap funding into December. The bill from McConnell and Shelby, however, does not include a debt ceiling suspension.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are supposed to meet with President Joe Biden Wednesday to discuss the legislation.
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