Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks In Advance Of Republicans Rejecting Simple Majority Vote To Avoid Unprecedented Default

September 28, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor asking consent for a simple majority vote on a bill to suspend the debt ceiling. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – who has for weeks insisted Democrats must vote on their own to raise the debt ceiling – rejected the notion of an up-or-down vote to suspend the debt ceiling. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Last night, Senate Republicans voted unanimously to make a default and a shutdown far more likely, and in doing so solidified themselves as the party of default, the party that says America does not pay its debts.

Now, despite yesterday’s stunning display of obstruction, the fact remains that we need to raise the debt ceiling, and in a few moments I will offer a way forward for us to avoid causing an unnecessary and catastrophic default on the debt.

Over the last two days, the Republican Leader has repeatedly cited an instance in the mid-2000s during which Republicans held full control of government, and voted by themselves to increase the debt limit.

Here’s what he said: that is “exactly the same situation we’re in now.” Exactly the same situation we’re in now.

Now the Senate was able to raise the debt ceiling at that time because the then-Republican Majority Leader made a consent request to this body that cleared the way for the Senate to increase the debt limit by a majority threshold, instead of requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster.

The Minority party, under this agreement, was able to vote no--which is what they claim they want to do--and the majority party was able to approve a debt limit extension and prevent a catastrophe.

So we are proposing the same today, the same thing the Leader cited and said the situation is exactly the same: allow for a simple majority threshold to raise the debt ceiling and avoid this needless catastrophe that Republicans have steered us towards. We are simply asking Senator McConnell to live by his own example.

We have given the Republicans what they want and now the ball is in their court.

Let’s see if Republicans truly want what they say they want.

We are not asking them to vote yes. If Republicans want to vote to not pay the debts they helped incur, they can all vote no.

We are just asking Republicans: get out of the way. Get out of the way when you are risking the full faith in credit of the United States, to play a nasty political game.

We can bring this to a resolution today.

Using the drawn-out and convoluted reconciliation process is far too risky. Far too risky.

Too many American families are at stake. Far better for us to solve this problem right here, and right now.

[At the conclusion of his remarks, Senator Schumer asked unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the Majority Leader, following consultation with the Republican Leader, the Senate proceed to the consideration of S.2868, a bill to suspend the debt limit, which was introduced earlier today; that there be 2 hours for debate equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees; that upon the use or yielding back of time, the bill be considered read a third time, and the Senate vote on passage of the bill, with no intervening action or debate. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to the request.]

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