As US default looms, debt ceiling standoff continues in Congress

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — If Congress doesn’t take action soon to raise the debt ceiling, officials say the country could face a crippling recession.

Congress has less than two weeks to resolve the looming crisis. Republicans are still refusing to help Democrats raise the debt ceiling despite new pressure from the White House.

On Wednesday, Democrats will again try to bring a bill to the Senate floor and are pleading with Republicans to allow a vote.

“If Republicans would get out of the damn way, we could get this done,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York. “All we need is 10 Republicans to vote with us.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is urging Congress to raise the debt ceiling so to avoid the government’s first-ever default. She warns inaction would delay millions of social security payments, veteran benefits and even pause paychecks for U.S. Postal Service employees.

“As pretty much everyone has warned, a first-ever default on the national debt would be catastrophic,” said Schumer.

Republicans agree but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrats have the power and time to do it alone.

During a Tuesday news conference, McConnell alongside Republican leaders vowed to oppose the upcoming vote to raise the debt ceiling and won’t help Democrats spend more money.

“It’s not in dispute that the debt ceiling needs to be addressed, the only issue is who does it,” said McConnell. “I implore (Democrats) not to play Russian Roulette with the American economy.”

With a credit downgrade looming, Schumer said he could keep the Senate in session next week during a scheduled October recess.

“We are going to stay here until we get this done,” Schumer said.

President Joe Biden is also calling on Republicans to allow the vote on raising the debt ceiling. He will meet with business leaders at the White House Wednesday to discuss the effects of a possible default.

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