Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Tomorrow’s Cloture Vote To Enable Senate Democrats To Raise The Debt Ceiling And Avert A Catastrophic Default

October 5, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding tomorrow’s vote, that will allow Senate Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own and avert a catastrophic default. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Last night, as you know, I filed cloture on legislation sent to us by the House of Representatives that provides for a suspension of the debt ceiling until December of 2022.

The Senate is going to hold that vote tomorrow, and once again the members of this body will face a choice: we can bring this Republican-manufactured debt ceiling crisis to a swift end, or Republicans can keep barreling our country ever-closer to the first default in American history.

By now, it is perfectly clear which political party is working to prevent a default on the debt, and which party is deliberately and almost cynically rooting for one.

Republicans have been offered multiple opportunities to de-escalate this crisis they’ve created, yet each time the Republican Leader has chosen to magnify it instead.

Last week Democrats offered a commonsense proposal that would have addressed the debt ceiling on a bipartisan basis; Republicans voted instead to default.

Democrats then offered Republicans what the Republican Leader said they’ve wanted by proposing a simple majority vote, exactly what happened in the early 2000s; and again, Republicans blocked it in favor of default.

By now, it’s clear that despite what they say, Republicans seem intent on seeing the U.S. miss out on its payments for first time ever. They seem perfectly at ease telling the American people—including our active military, our Social Security recipients, and all those who rely on Medicare—that they are unequivocally the party of default. The Republicans are unequivocally the party of default and some of them seem to be proud of it.

It’s hard to believe that one of America’s two major parties would be willing to jeopardize our entire economy—and irrevocably damage our standing throughout the world—just because they don’t like that the party that won the election is following through on its agenda to help American families. But that’s exactly what’s going on here.

Now, let’s be very clear, tomorrow’s vote is simply a cloture vote. It is not a vote to raise the debt ceiling, it’s rather a procedural step to let Democrats raise the debt ceiling on our own, just as Republicans have called for.

Let me say that again so all of my Republican colleagues can hear it and the American people can hear it loud and clear: tomorrow's vote is simply a cloture vote. Tomorrow's vote is not a vote to raise the debt ceiling. It's, rather, a procedural step to let Democrats raise the debt ceiling on our own.

We're telling Republicans that we're not asking you to vote for it, just let us vote for it. And that's what you’ve called for. That's what Leader McConnell has called for on countless occasions from July on.

As recently as yesterday, the Republican Leader pointed to episodes in 2004 and 2006 while the majority raised the debt ceiling while the minority voted against it.

As happened then, the minority party can just get out of the way and let the Majority supply the votes.

Tomorrow’s vote, then, is a chance for Republican Senators to show they don’t have to link arm-in-arm with those extreme members of their conference running for president. They have a chance to show they are still responsible.

It’s not too late, but it’s getting dangerously close.  

As I said yesterday, this chamber must send President Biden legislation to raise the debt ceiling before the end of the week. We do not have the luxury of using a drawn-out, convoluted and risky process. We can resolve the debt ceiling crisis this week and reassure the world that the full faith and credit of the United States will never be in question.   

Democrats are going to do the responsible thing tomorrow and vote yes to prevent a default. There’s still time – still time – for Republicans to get out of the way and allow this bill to pass with a simple majority vote.

If Republicans want to vote “no” tomorrow, if they really want to be the party of default, that’s their choice.