Democrats, who helped raise the borrowing limit when President Donald J. Trump was in office, had hoped to pressure at least 10 Republicans into abandoning the hard-line stance by merging the debt ceiling provision with badly needed money for their states and the stopgap government funding bill. Now they must regroup or face a shutdown by midnight Thursday, an outcome they have vowed to avoid.
Some Democrats pointed to the breakdown as further evidence for their argument that it was time to change Senate rules to deprive the minority party of a crucial tool for blocking legislative action.
“This is playing with fire for us to risk the full faith and credit of the United States to another damn filibuster,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat. “As far as I’m concerned, this is proof positive that the filibuster does not engender bipartisanship, it creates hopeless partisan divisions.”
The legislation that failed to advance on Monday would have kept the government funded past the beginning of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, giving lawmakers additional time to negotiate the dozen annual spending bills, and raised the borrowing limit through Dec. 16, 2022. It also would have provided $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires and other recent natural disasters.
“It was pretty cynical of Senator Schumer to attach relief for disaster victims to something that he knew wasn’t going to pass — leveraging their pain, leveraging their pain for something that he can do quite easily,” Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, told reporters.
Democrats decided earlier this year against including a debt ceiling increase in their budget blueprint, which could have allowed them to include it in the expansive domestic policy legislation, which they are pushing through Congress using a budget process known as reconciliation that shields it from a filibuster.
An attempt to do so at this point would be procedurally complex and time-consuming, given the strict rules governing reconciliation. Democrats have remained adamant that they will not do so.
Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.