By Devan Cole, CNN
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said Sunday that he opposes a Democratic plan to combine a temporary government funding bill with a suspension of the debt ceiling.
“So I will certainly be voting no if the Democrats insist on combining the debt ceiling increase or suspension with the continuing operations of the government,” Toomey told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked about how he intends to vote on the possible plan.
CNN reported last week that the Senate is expected to vote Monday on the key procedural motion that includes both a government funding provision and a debt ceiling provision, but that the vote had not been locked in by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Still, like Toomey, other Republicans in the chamber have said they plan to block the measure because they oppose the debt limit provision.
The Pennsylvania senator told Tapper that he thinks if Republicans vote down the double-barreled Democratic proposal, Schumer will use the budget reconciliation process “so that Democrats can pass the debt ceiling (suspension) all by themselves.”
“They are in the midst of an absolutely unprecedented, very damaging spending spree on a scale that we have never seen, and they want us to come along and authorize the borrowing to help pay for it when we are totally opposed to what they’re doing,” he said.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin would not say last week how Democrats would handle preventing a damaging default and whether they would use the reconciliation process that they are using to pass their proposed $3.5 trillion “social infrastructure” bill on a party-line vote.
But Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, pushed back on Toomey’s comments in a separate interview Sunday on “State of the Union,” telling Tapper that the need to raise the debt ceiling is due to Trump-era tax cuts that were passed when Republicans controlled Congress.
“Donald Trump ran up profligate spending, $8 trillion worth of debt,” Booker said. “This debt ceiling raise is all about money Donald Trump spent to give the biggest tax cuts that I’ve seen in my lifetime to the wealthiest of wealthy — corporations and billionaires.”
Monday’s vote would take place just days before the government could run out of money at the end of the month and Democrats must then determine their next steps. They could allow the government to shut down and try to blame Republicans or they could strip out the debt ceiling from the bill and pass it with GOP support, which is expected once the debt provision is removed.
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