Congressional Democrats will try once again to raise the federal debt ceiling by the Oct. 18 deadline in order to avoid defaulting on the debt for the first time in the nation’s history, which would have catastrophic effects on the economy. 

In order to accomplish this, their best option would be to drop the filibuster which President Joe Biden says is a “real possibility.” The filibuster rule in the Senate requires 60 votes in order for a bill to pass. If Democrats are to successfully avoid the filibuster they would need every member of their caucus in order to do so, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Both have repeatedly stated they are not willing to dump the filibuster. If the filibuster is abolished, only 51 votes would be needed to raise the debt ceiling. 

Democrats are scheduled for a procedural vote on Wednesday that would allow them to begin debating a bill that would suspend the debt limit until December 2022. The bill passed the House easily last week but has run into a standstill in the Senate. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, unemployment benefits, federal salaries, Medicare, and Social Security payments could all be delayed as a result of the standoff. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans have insisted the route the Democrats should take to raise the country’s debt limit would be budget reconciliation.

“There is already an existing carveout where Democrats can do it themselves — it’s called reconciliation,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said on Twitter.

Democrats insist that reconciliation would take too much time given their limited window to raise the debt ceiling.

“We’re not doing it on reconciliation ... it's too complicated," said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

“It’s impossible to do now. There are too many pitfalls, it takes too long,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called reconciliation a “drawn out, convoluted, and risky process.”

Schumer says the best way to get it done is for Republicans to “get out of the way,” adding “none of them have to vote for a debt ceiling, let the 50 Democrats do it.”

Schumer said he is willing to suspend the Senate’s October recess in order to buy more time to debate raising the debt ceiling. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns that defaulting on the debt will erode the “full faith and credit of the United States,” particularly undermining government bonds generally seen as “the safest asset on the planet.”

According to Fitch Ratings, defaulting on the debt would cost the U.S. its AAA credit rating, saying doing so “would lead to non-payment or delayed payment of other obligations, which would likely undermine the U.S.’ ‘AAA’ status.”

Fitch also warns defaulting could result in homeowners seeing their mortgages becoming more expensive overnight. 

Schumer warns “downgrade is hovering over us,” as he made the case for congressional action, adding, “it’s not too late, but it’s getting dangerously close."