Sunday, October 17

Biden considers reforming the Senate to avoid default


New York

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Joe Biden It is proposed to promote the change of a central rule in the operation of the Senate to bend the Republican opposition to the expansion of the debt ceiling and avoid a default or ‘default’ that could send the US back into recession. This is the so-called ‘filibuster’, the legislative blockade process that implies that the vast majority of laws passed in the upper house need a reinforced majority of 60 votes, for a total of 100 senators.

The ‘filibuster’ is a legislative antiquity that reinforces the voice of the minority in the Senate and demands greater negotiation between parties. With the minimal majority that Democrats have and amid the political polarization that the US is experiencing, it has become a constant threat of blockade. Now, the risk is that the US is on the verge of default due to the inability to borrow more to pay what it owes. According to the calculations of the US Treasury, this situation could occur in just over ten days, on October 18, if Congress does not agree to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.

«It’s a real possibility“Said the US president on Tuesday about the option to encourage the Democrats to load the ‘filibuster’ specifically for the issue of the debt ceiling.

Republicans had planned to oppose again yesterday in the Senate the suspension of the debt ceiling on which the Democrats are betting. They are refusing to do so amid parallel negotiations among Democrats to approve pharaonic spending plans, including $ 3.5 trillion in social welfare and climate change.

“They want us to be accomplices and assistants in their reckless fiscal and spending policies and we simply are not going to do it,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn yesterday.

Republicans share with Democrats a concern about not defaulting, but a different route to avoid it: they want them to do so through the legislative ‘reconciliation’ process, which only requires a majority of 51 votes for budgetary matters. Democrats have protested because, to avoid default, it is a “dangerous” process, which could take a long time and requires a specific increase in the spending ceiling, beyond the suspension they seek.

The option to eliminate the ‘filibuster’ would make things easier for the Democrats, but for this they need to convince the Democrats as a whole. At least two of the moderate lawmakers, Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, the same ones who trouble spending plans, have spoken out against eliminating the rule.

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