By Brandon Moseley
U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville, both Republicans from Alabama, voted against a resolution to shut off debate on a deal negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to set up a one-time exemption to the filibuster on raising the debt ceiling.
“Today I voted against a procedure that would allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling," Shelby said. "If Democrats want to continue spending trillions of dollars to fund their liberal wish list, they should do so alone and not with the help of Republicans. I am disappointed that some of my GOP colleagues have assisted them in this process. We said before that we wouldn’t help Democrats increase the debt ceiling again, and we are only as good as our word.”
“Having the majority comes with responsibility, but since Day One, Democrats have avoided taking ownership for messes they’ve created,” Tuberville said. “The need to raise the debt limit is a Democrat problem; they need to look the American people in the eyes and answer for their reckless spending.”
The Senate voted to close debate on a 64 to 36 vote. The bill then passed the Senate on a 59 to 35 vote. The bill would raise the debt ceiling, avoid a government shutdown, and avoid automatic cuts from taking place for Medicare treatments performed by doctors and other healthcare providers.
McConnell was joined by Republican Sens. John Barrasso (Wyoming), Roy Blunt (Missouri), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Texas), Joni Ernst (Iowa) Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Thom Tillis (North Carolina), John Thune (South Dakota) and Roger Wicker (Mississippi) in the vote to close debate and advance the bill.
Ten of those senators then voted with Democrats to pass the bills. Sens. Ernst and Wicker, who voted to end debate on the bill, then voted with the majority of Senate Republicans against the bill.
The bill sets up a fast-track process for bypassing the 60-vote legislative filibuster on a bill to raise the debt ceiling. This would allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own without a single Republican vote.
The vote on the debt hike bill is expected to take place by Dec. 15. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress that the debt ceiling will have to be raised by that date in order to keep the government funded and solvent.
The vote on Thursday effectively ends a months-long debate over the nation’s borrowing limit.
“I think this is in the best interest of the country by avoiding default,” McConnell told reporters. “I think it is also in the best interest of Republicans.”
The bill has already passed the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and now goes to President Joe Biden’s (D) desk. He is expected to sign the bill.
The national debt is currently $29.02 trillion.
(Original reporting by the Hill contributed to this report.)
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