- Senate Democrats are struggling to hold the line on raising the debt ceiling while avoiding a government shutdown.
- Sen. Jon Tester of Montana told Politico the fight between Democrats and Republicans is “a ridiculous exercise.”
- “We always do this fucking dance,” he told the outlet.
Senate Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated as they try to pressure Republicans into accepting a debt ceiling increase that GOP leaders have forcefully rejected, all while avoiding the political catastrophe of a possible government shutdown next week, according to Politico.
Ane one Democrat, in particular, isn’t mincing words over the stalemate.
“We always do this fucking dance,” Sen. Jon Tester, a third-generation farmer from Montana, told Politico. “I don’t know if people are going to put their sane minds on and do what needs to be done, or shut it down. This is just a ridiculous exercise … I can’t even compare it to anything I do on the farm that’s this stupid.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cemented his refusal to renew the nation’s ability to pay its bills on Wednesday, warning Democrats not to “play Russian roulette” with the economy. But even though the House passed a bill on Tuesday night that included both government funding and a debt-ceiling suspension, the legislation is likely to be torpedoed in the Senate, where McConnell has said Republicans will not support it.
If Congress doesn’t act in time to avert the federal default, the financial consequences could send the nation into another recession.
So, while Democrats are eager to keep up their public pressure on Republicans to accept their proposal, in private, the politicians are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid a shutdown. According to Politico, doing so would almost certainly require Democrats to drop a borrowing limit increase from their funding package.
Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona told the outlet that his party “can’t allow the government to shut down.” Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia echoed his sentiments. And Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland suggested other alternatives to raising the debt ceiling and securing the spending bill.
“I don’t know which strategy they will use next,” Cardin told Politico. “But I know there are other strategies, if this doesn’t work.”
But time is running out. Democratic sources told the outlet that the Senate is likely to vote on the House-passed funding bill on Monday, where it will almost certainly fail. Just four days later, on October 1, the government is set to shut down.