House expected to vote on debt ceiling and budget

September 21, 2021

On Sept. 20, Congressional Democrats announced they would attach a 15-month suspension of the federal debt limit to a stopgap funding bill that lawmakers must pass by the end of the month to keep federal agencies open. Republicans oppose a debt increase or suspension and vowed to vote against any legislation that includes it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the measure would prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1, and fund federal agencies through Dec. 3 of this year and suspend the debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, and as part of the measure, it would also include new aid to address various natural disasters and resettlement money for Afghan refugees. The measure includes $28.6 billion in disaster aid and $6.3 billion to help Afghan allies and partners settle in the United States. Earlier this month, White House officials requested $14 billion to respond to the disasters and $6.4 billion for relocation efforts for Afghan relocation efforts.

On Sept. 21, the House is expected to vote on the government funding bill coupled with the language to increase the debt limit. Once the bill passes the House, it will face an uphill battle in the Senate, where the Democrats would need to win the support of ten Republicans to overcome a filibuster. Almost all Republican Senators have said they will vote against any measure raising or suspending the debt ceiling. Republicans have called on the Democrats to use the reconciliation process to pass a separate measure to raise the borrowing cap, which would allow them to do so without Republican support.

The government is expected to run out of money at the end of the month. It is difficult to predict when the government would default on its debt, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told lawmakers that time-buying measures her department had taken will run out in early October as well.