Sen. Charles M. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader, announced this morning that the Senate would stay in session until a debt ceiling bill passed in identical form in both chambers of Congress and could then go to the President for his signature, according to The Hill.
Schumer gives dire warning
Sen. Schumer, de facto presiding officer of the Senate, essentially committed the Senate to a marathon session. “Time,” he said, “is a luxury the Senate does not have.” And so, “We will keep working until the job is done.”
The House passed their debt ceiling bill, which they call the Fiscal Responsibility Act, last night with a bipartisan vote. It was 314 to 117, with two absences from each Party, and majorities in each Party voting in favor. That bill has many riders in it that displease the left wing, including environmental permitting reforms. One such reform is actually a special carve-out, giving the Army Corps of Engineers three weeks to sign off on a particular project: the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia. That pipeline, of special concern to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), would carry natural gas – a fossil fuel. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wants to amend the bill to strip that directive out of it.
Besides that, those on the right fear that the bill’s suspension of the debt ceiling until the 119th Congress first meets will essentially give the government a blank check with unlimited credit. Furthermore, they remain highly skeptical of COVID relief claw-backs and the “encouragement” to pass twelve separate appropriations bills. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) did not convince everyone with her detailed description of this “encouragement.” Accordingly, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will offer an amendment to impost five percent across-the-board cuts to all “on-budget” spending for the rest of this term of Congress.
Other amendment fights tee up
Similarly, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wants to disallow the OMB director to waive Pay-as-you-go requirements in certain instances. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Ga.) had raised a specific alarm about that, among other things, two days ago. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) wants a penalty applied to lawmakers for failing to pass any of the twelve separate appropriations bills on time. Finally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly wants to offer an unspecified amendment concerning defense spending.
Sen. Schumer has set a deadline of June 5, that being the hypothetical “date of default” on outstanding debt instruments. Accordingly he warned against “brinksmanship” in the Senate debate to come.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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