As Infrastructure Bill Approaches Voting, Returns to Open Place


Mr. McConnell threatened to withhold all Republican votes from the debt ceiling increase, a stance Mr. Hollen called “part of a pattern of hypocrisy.” Republicans have repeatedly raised the debt ceiling during the Trump years, even after the tax cuts. But they caused a series of crises when there was a Democrat in the White House.

Even some conservatives say the Republican inconsistency undermines the party’s claim to financial integrity.

“Republicans would have much more credibility in the debt ceiling argument if they weren’t about to vote to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit,” Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, said on the infrastructure bill. Mr. Portman’s former financial aide.

Democrats have a decision to make in the next few days. By adding an increase in the debt ceiling to their upcoming budget resolutions, they could ensure that the borrowing limit can be raised this fall without needing any Republican votes. But this option will have political costs: To do so, Senate rules require the provision to include a precise figure for the debt ceiling increase, such as $10 trillion, which Republicans will incorrectly say is the real cost of the social policy bill.

That’s what Republicans want.

“I think the majority should figure this out – they control the House, the Senate and the White House,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, told reporters this week.

If the debt ceiling is raised by a separate measure instead, the bill can simply set a date for the next debt ceiling increase without a dollar number. But that will take the Republican vote to break a scam in the Senate, votes Mr McConnell says he won’t supply.

Republicans have long argued that debt-ceiling calculations are used to force a reluctant Congress to examine the structural problems that are driving debt. The debt ceiling crisis in 2011 forced both sides to pass the Budget Control Act, which restrained spending for nearly a decade until it passed under Mr. Trump’s administration.


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