KEY POINTS

  • No Republican voted for the measure Monday
  • Democrats hinted that they are focused on preventing a government shutdown
  • Hundreds of thousands of federal workers may face furloughs if the government shuts down

Democrats have hinted that they’re willing to scratch the debt ceiling from their funding package in a bid to avert a government shutdown, after Senate Republicans on Monday defeated their measure to suspend the debt ceiling and fund the government.

Monday evening’s vote (48-50) fell on party lines, with not one Republican voting for the legislation, The Hill reported. Republicans previously threatened to not deliver votes for the Democratic measure seeking to increase the government’s borrowing limit. The measure needed 60 votes to advance.

The government funding needs to be resolved before Friday, while the debt ceiling’s deadline won’t kick in for several more weeks, Politico reported.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House’s spending panel, said Monday that Democrats will work on another funding patch, but she did not mention lifting the debt limit. “Our first order of business is to keep the government open, which we are going to do,” DeLauro said.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., also noted that Democrats are “not going to let the government shut down and we’re not going to default.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that Republicans' "reckless decision threatens 6 million jobs, financial ruin for countless families, military paychecks and Social Security payments to seniors."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said: “For more than two months now Senate Republicans have been completely clear about how this process will play out. So let me make it abundantly clear one more time, we will support a clean continuing resolution that will prevent a government shutdown. ...We will not provide Republican votes for raising the debt ceiling.”

Should Democrats be unable to stop a partial government shutdown this week, it is expected that hundreds of thousands of federal workers will face furloughs. Many government functions will stop and even national parks and museums will have to shut down, Reuters reported.

William Hoagland, a former congressional staffer who is now working with the Bipartisan Policy Center, said that about three in five federal workers will be barred from working. Many workers directly working under the U.S. COVID-19 response team will also be forced to work without pay until government funding is approved.

The elusive funding bill should enable support to be distributed to government agencies through Dec.3. One option at this point is to create a short-term spending bill that will win bipartisan support as Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, believes “nothing would be worse than a shutdown.”

Republicans, pictured at a press conference in the US Congress on September 22, 2021, say Democrats need to take ownership of debt increases while they run the House, Senate and White House Republicans, pictured at a press conference in the US Congress on September 22, 2021, say Democrats need to take ownership of debt increases while they run the House, Senate and White House Photo: AFP / Olivier DOULIERY