WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A week away from a shutdown, Democrats and Republicans are still sparring over a path forward to fund the government.
One main sticking point: Democrats’ push to attach a debt ceiling hike to the spending plan. Senate Republicans are refusing to support that measure even though economists warn failure to raise the ceiling could damage the economy.
“Republicans won’t agree to pay our past bills, the debts we owe,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said.
“Give me a break,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., retorted on the Senate floor. “If they (Democrats) want to tax, borrow and spend historic sums of money without our input, they’ll have to raise the debt limit without our help.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., agreed.
“They can do it if they want to do it, and they should, but I’m certainly not going to help them do it,” Hawley said.
The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, but Democrats need at least 10 Republicans on board to get the measure through the Senate.
Brown and Democrats say there’s too much at stake to not raise the debt ceiling. The U.S. Department of the Treasury says the government could run out of money to pay its debts by mid-October if Congress does not act.
“I don’t want to vote for it. I didn’t want to vote for it when Trump was president but I did because my obligation is to pay our bills so that we can make veterans VA benefit payments, we can make Social Security payments,” Brown said. “It’s what we do as patriotic Americans.”
Despite Republican pushback, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says he will hold a vote on the entire package by next week.
“Every single member of this chamber is going to go on record,” he said.
Democrats have not announced a backup plan if Republicans block the passage.