Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Raising The Debt Limit, Moving Forward On The National Defense Authorization Act, And Continuing To Make Progress On Build Back Better

December 14, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding today’s votes to proceed to legislation to address the debt limit and invoke cloture on the National Defense Authorization Act. Senator Schumer also provided an update on the Build Back Better Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today, the Senate will vote to advance at least one more Biden judicial nominee, we’ll move forward on our annual defense bill, we’ll vote on the motion to proceed on legislation to raise the debt ceiling, all hopefully before we start the afternoon.

It is a busy day for the Senate, so let me break down each of these items in some detail.

On the legislative front: later this morning, the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on the annual defense bill, negotiated on a bicameral, bipartisan basis. For over sixty years the National Defense Authorization Act has passed without fail on a mostly bipartisan basis, so I thank all my colleagues for working in good faith to getting this defense bill done.

The Senate will then turn to the critical matter of addressing the debt limit in order to avoid a first-ever default on our sovereign debt.

Last week, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass legislation setting up a fast-track process for addressing the debt limit.

Today we are going to complete that process, and it will come in two steps: first, as I said, we will vote on the motion to proceed, followed by a vote on final passage later today.

Thanks to last week’s agreement between Democrats and Republicans, today’s motion to proceed will be set at a majority threshold. Once we are on the bill, no amendments will be in order, debate will be limited to ten hours, and we hope to yield back debate time on our side to keep this progress moving. The resolution we will vote on will provide for a raising of the debt limit to a level commensurate with funding necessary to get into 2023.

As I have said repeatedly, this is about paying debt accumulated by both parties, so I am pleased Republicans and Democrats came together to facilitate a process that has made addressing the debt ceiling possible. I want to thank the Republican Leader and all my Republican colleagues who reached out across the aisle in good faith to bring us to this point.

No brinksmanship, no default on the debt, no risk of another recession: responsible governing has won on this exceedingly important issue. The American people can breathe easy and rest assured there will not be a default.

So once again, I thank the Republican Leader and my Republican colleagues who voted with us to address this issue.

The Senate can be done with this matter before the end of the day, crossing another major item off our December to-do list.

Off the floor, Democrats continue working to put the Senate in a position to act on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act along with the timeline I’ve set out for our caucus.

This week, bipartisan Byrd Bath meetings with the parliamentarian will continue—and I thank my colleagues, the parliamentarian, and her team for working through this important and difficult process.

The President will also continue his conversations with our caucus as we hash out the final details of the legislation. Build Back Better is moving forward, and I thank all of my colleagues and the President for their diligence and their commitment to get this done.

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