Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat-backed, House-approved bill to fund the government through most of the rest of the year on Monday. The bill would also suspend the debt limit through December 2022, allowing the country to raise its borrowing limit. The move by the GOP exacerbates an already tense political showdown and increases the pressure on Democratic leaders to avert a government shutdown (and potential debt default) before funding expires at midnight on Thursday.
The pairing of the two measures in one spending bill by Democrats was widely seen as a dare to Republicans, who have repeatedly insisted they will not vote to raise the debt limit. With 48 Senate votes in favor and 50 opposed, the bill fell short of the 60-vote threshold to advance through the Republican filibuster. If Congress cannot authorize additional borrowing, the government may not be able to pay its bills on time, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has suggested, however, that Democrats would potentially decouple the measures in order to keep the government funded. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated Monday that his party would support such an action.