Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Urging Republicans To Get Out Of The Way So That Senate Democrats Can Raise The Debt Ceiling And Prevent A Republican Default Crisis

October 4, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the urgent need for Republicans to get out of the way so that Senate Democrats can raise the debt ceiling and avoid catastrophic default. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Before the end of this week, the Senate must—must—get a bill to the President’s desk to address the acute crisis of the debt limit.


President Biden was crystal clear in his speech this morning: if Republicans don’t get out of the way and let the Senate take action now, our government will in all likelihood enter default for the first time ever.

Sadly, the Republican position as the Party of default has now become so extreme that they’ve blocked every single attempt to prevent a default from happening, putting our country in serious danger.

They have even gone as far as rejecting their own requests for how the debt ceiling should be raised. Their own request! We are putting those in action and they are saying no. Why do you think?

Now, the Republican Leader has repeatedly stated that Democrats must raise the debt ceiling on our own—and has directly cited the precedents of 2003, 2004, and 2006, when the Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling by a majority vote.

But what he conveniently and repeatedly ignores—he know better—is that in each of those examples, the minority allowed an up-or-down vote without – without – a partisan filibuster.

In other words, the other side said get us the 50 votes and we won't make you get to 60.

In fact, this was the thrust of my consent request last week, which would have resolved this Republican-driven default crisis with an up-or-down vote. Republicans could have gotten their chance to vote no and we could all have put an end to this needless impasse.

But given the easiest way out of the mess, Republicans still refused to take yes for an answer. Now our country is on the brink of a crisis whose consequences will reverberate around the world.

The bottom line is this chamber must pass legislation to avoid a default. Accordingly, I will soon file cloture on the house-passed proposal that will suspend the debt limit until December of 2022.

We aren’t asking Republicans to support it when it comes time for a vote. We only ask that they get out of the way as Democrats pass it on our own, just as the majority party did in the early 2000s.

It’s really that simple.

If Republicans want to vote to stop payments from going to social security recipients or veterans, then be my guest. But they ought to get out of the way and let the legislation pass the Senate.

The fact is we do not have the luxury of waiting until October 18 to extend the debt ceiling. Even a near-miss can have dramatic consequences—every single day we delay taking action, we increase the chances of doing irreversible damage to our global financial system, our economic recovery, and trust in our country’s ability to pay its debts.

So again, we will need to get a bill extending the debt ceiling to the President’s desk by the end of this week. We aren’t asking Republicans to vote yes, even though it is debt that they incurred.

We are simple asking that they get out of the way.