Politics & Policy

Schumer Thanks Democrats for Solving ‘Republican-Manufactured Crisis’ after Debt-Ceiling Hike Passes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) speaks to reporters following the Senate Democrats weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., September 28, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) railed against Republicans in a speech Thursday night after eleven GOP senators joined Democrats in breaking a filibuster on the debt-ceiling hike.

“I thank my Democratic colleagues for showing unity in solving this Republican-manufactured crisis,” Schumer said. “Despite immense opposition from Leader McConnell and members of his conference, our caucus held together, and we have pulled our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”

After breaking the filibuster, the Senate approved an extension of the federal debt ceiling through December on Thursday in a 50–48 vote, averting a looming default sometime this month.

Senators approved the extension after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) proposed the short-term fix. 

Several Republicans joined Democrats to break a filibuster on the debt-ceiling hike in a 61–38 vote on Thursday evening ahead of the measure’s final passage. GOP senators who voted to break the filibuster included Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and senators John Cornyn of Texas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Schumer’s speech infuriated Republicans, including Thune, the Senate minority whip, who voted to advance the measure and told Schumer that his speech was “inappropriate and tone deaf.”

“It was an incredibly partisan speech after we helped him solve the problem,” Thune said, according to CNN’s Manu Raju.

Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) who voted to filibuster the bill, said Schumer “made the objective he described more difficult to achieve by virtue of what he said.”

“There’s a time to be graceful and there’s a time to be combative. That was a time for grace and common ground,” Romney added

Rounds called the speech “classless” and said Republicans wouldn’t cooperate going forward, Raju reported.

Even Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, said he didn’t believe Schumer’s speech “was appropriate at this time.”

Manchin said “we need to de-weaponize” and stop “playing politics.”

“That was not a way to take [frustration] out,” he added. 

Previously, McConnell and Republicans had refused to support any increase to the debt ceiling because of opposition to new spending proposed by Democrats. Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are attempting to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and potential $3.5 trillion spending package on social programs.

Now the bill, which raises the government’s debt ceiling by nearly a half-trillion dollars, will head to the House where it will almost certainly pass and be sent to the desk of President Biden, who has said he plans to sign the measure into law.

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