Senate Democrats say they’ll advance a bill giving President Barack Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of Congress disapproves, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
The issue of increasing the borrowing limit and avoiding an unprecedented default is fast becoming a central focus in Washington — and comes as ordinary Americans say they’re deeply dismayed with the week-old government shutdown, and are finding blame with both Republicans and Democrats.
“It looks like there is more than enough blame to go around and both parties are being hurt by the shutdown,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
An initial test vote on the proposal, described by the aide on condition of anonymity, could occur as soon as Oct. 11, just six days before federal borrowing authority is set to expire.
Democrats have been pressing for a one-year increase in the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling without any of the spending cuts or policy changes Republicans are demanding.
The idea to give Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling barring a congressional disapproval was first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, in 2011; it became part of the Budget Control Act passed in August of that year.
The Senate Democratic aide said the strategy could make it easier to get Republican votes because no Republican would have to vote directly for a debt-ceiling increase.