Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
October 7, 2021

Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) have reached an agreement to extend the debt ceiling into December and Senators could vote on the deal as soon as today.  The agreement would increase the debt ceiling by $480 billion, which based on Treasury Department estimates would extend the debt ceiling until December 3rd, the same day the continuing resolution expires.  Leader Schumer said he hoped it would get a vote as soon as today but made a procedural motion that would set up votes on the debt limit over the weekend. That schedule could be expedited with consent from all 100 senators. But opposition to the deal by former President Donald Trump, who continues to hold sway over the GOP caucus, could trigger an objection from one or more Republican senators, despite McConnell’s support.  It was still possible that conservatives could require the deal to overcome a 60-vote procedural hurdle.  That would require at least 10 GOP senators to help advance the debt ceiling deal, even if they ultimately voted against it on final passage. Any one senator could require that the bill get 60 votes to advance.  The Senate agreement would need to be passed by the House before being sent to President Joe Biden and it’s not clear when the House might take it up. House Democratic leaders had promised their members 72 hours’ notice before any votes that might be set during the scheduled recess, which lasts until October 19th.   If approved by the Senate and House of Representatives, the U.S. debt limit would then be set at $28.9 trillion.

Congress also faces a deadline for funding the government on December 3rd and Democrats also want to pass two massive spending bills that make up much of President Biden’s domestic agenda in the coming weeks, including a multitrillion-dollar social policy package and a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

For today, the Senate remains in session pending a vote on the debt ceiling deal.  The House continues to be in two committee work weeks and will again convene for votes on Tuesday, October 19th.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.