Senate leaders face-off in fight over debt ceiling

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, with Republican Senators John Barrasso (left) and John Thune (right), arrives to speak to reporters after the Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.cC) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, with Republican Senators John Barrasso (left) and John Thune (right), arrives to speak to reporters after the Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.cC) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, with Republican Senators John Barrasso (left) and John Thune (right), arrives to speak to reporters after the Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.cC) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 8:10 PM PT – Monday, October 4, 2021

The debate has heated up in the upper chamber as senators from both sides sparred over the debt ceiling. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took aim at one another amid the battle over who had control over the U.S. economy.

Schumer pointed his finger at Republicans by blaming the GOP for the U.S. legislature’s failure to fully fund the government by the start of the new fiscal year. He threatened if Republicans weren’t willing to pass the Democrat-led bills, Democrats would use their slim majorities to truck the bills through both chambers.

“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,” he stated. “…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.”

However, McConnell pointed out Democrats were having a tough time passing their agenda, despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House.

“This unified Democratic government is having trouble governing. It couldn’t even pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the president negotiated and the Speaker of the House promised it would pass last week,” he expressed. “The majority needs to stop sleepwalking toward yet another preventable crisis. Democrats need to tackle the debt limit. We gave them a roadmap and three months notice. I suggest that our colleagues get moving.”

The Kentucky Republican also called out Democrats for forgetting their own history of voting against raising the debt ceiling. He cited Democrats “lined up to oppose debt limit increases during a unified Republican government.”

“They pretended these votes are always bipartisan. Well, that was simply not true,” he asserted. “So now our colleagues have moved on to yet another new argument that is equally flimsy.”

Schumer moved to vote on raising the debt ceiling on Wednesday. However, experts warn the measure would likely not pass as Democrats would need 10 GOP senators to break from party lines to bypass the filibuster.

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