Political chess: Has the ‘debt ceiling’ become an annual game of chance in Washington?

Political chess: Has the ‘debt ceiling’ become an annual game of chance in Washington?

October 4, 20212 min read

Just about every year, no matter who is in charge, Congress ends up in a down-to-the-wire debate about raising America’s debt ceiling.

Last year, President Donald Trump needed the debt ceiling increased, with Democrats eventually approving.

This year, President Joe Biden is facing down Republicans who are looking to block any increase in the staggering $28.4 trillion that has American books in the red.

In a high-stakes standoff over parliamentary maneuvers, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for months has been saying that Democrats should use a process called "budget reconciliation" to get around the Senate's filibuster rule, which requires 60 of 100 members to agree to pass most legislation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, has rejected that approach and Biden on Monday pleaded not to use the filibuster to block action.

"Just get out of the way," Biden told Republicans. "If you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way so you don't destroy it."

Late last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed and sent to the Senate a bill to suspend the limit on Treasury borrowing through the end of 2022. Schumer was expected to hold a vote on that measure this week.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week warned lawmakers that the United States government was close to exhausting its federal borrowing capabilities by about Oct. 18. Oct.11 – Reuters

There’s a lot to understand if you’re a journalist covering the tug of war between Republicans and Democrats. And as the Oct. 18 deadline looms, the public needs to know what the consequences may be for the American people and the economy.

Dr. William Hatcher is a professor of political science and interim chair of Augusta University’s Department of Social Sciences. He is an expert in the areas of public administration and social, economic and political institutions.

Hatcher is available to speak with media regarding the debt ceiling, what it means if increased and what it means if not raised. To arrange an interview today, simply click on his icon now.

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  • William Hatcher, PhD, MPA
    William Hatcher, PhD, MPA Chair of the Department of Social Sciences

    Dr. William Hatcher focuses on public administration and social, economic and political institutions in local communities.

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