The U.S. Senate on Thursday night voted 50-48 for a short-term increase on the debt ceiling, which will last until December. The vote was along party lines, with Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) not voting.
After hours of meetings and a contentious vote, the U.S. Senate avoided a filibuster so as to vote to raise the debt ceiling, for the short-term at least.
Mike Rounds, who was struggling with this vote, just voted YES.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2021
61-38, Senate breaks filibuster, moving to final passage— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2021
Acknowledging that there was a lot of "drama" involving the vote, CNN's Manu Raju signaled that the real work ahead is even more daunting.
All this drama for a two-month extension - very difficult to get 60 votes for this.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2021
Lot of folks in the Senate see only two options in December for long-term increase.
1) reconciliation process, which Dems have ruled out
2) Gutting filibuster rules, which Manchin/Sinema reject
While 11 Republican votes ultimately came, though surprisingly Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) was not one of them, it had been unclear hours earlier if enough votes would be there. In fact, Raju's feed for the past hour or so had been a painstaking countdown of what "yes" votes were there.
"In the end we’ll be there, but it’s going to be a painful birthing process," Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) had said earlier. He had also said it was "not an easy one to whip," as "our guys hate debt limit votes."
In his report for The Hill, Alexander Bolton included some insight from Republican members:
Though 11 Republican senators ultimately voted to advance the bill over a key hurdle, just hours earlier Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) had acknowledged to GOP colleagues during a 90-minute closed-door meeting in the Capitol that they did not yet have the 10 Republican votes needed to end a filibuster on a controversial debt limit deal and asked colleagues for help.
One Republican called the meeting “very contentious” and described “widespread frustration” in the room.
The lawmaker said McConnell and Thune both acknowledged that they didn’t have the 10 votes they needed to reach 60 and overcome a filibuster to set up a final up-or-down vote on a debt limit deal McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday morning.
A second Republican senator confirmed that McConnell acknowledged he wasn’t certain he would have the 60 votes needed to let the deal proceed to a final up-or-down vote, which Schumer could pass with all 50 Democrats and no GOP support.
“He said, ‘We’ll see and that if we don’t have the votes we’ll be here this weekend,’ ” the lawmaker recalled, referring to McConnell’s warning that colleagues would have to miss the start of the Columbus Day recess and stay in Washington until they found a way to resolve the impasse.
But the lawmaker said colleagues “felt much better” leaving the room after the long and tense meeting.
Thune said he would vote "yes" if his vote was absolutely needed. He ultimately voted "yes."
Tillis voted no on the floor, however, surprising colleagues.
Thursday's procedural vote was an agreement between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with an extension of the debt ceiling until December. Democrats will ultimately have to vote on a higher debt-limit number.
Many Republicans, especially former President Donald Trump, condemned such an agreement from McConnell. As Townhall covered, Trump issued a statement on Wednesday targeting McConnell.
The former president issued a statement on Thursday, as well, in an effort to convince Republican senators to not agree to such a deal.
NEW!— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) October 7, 2021
President Donald J. Trump:
"Republican Senators, do not vote for this terrible deal being pushed by folding Mitch McConnell. Stand strong for our Country. The American people are with you!" pic.twitter.com/kOg105ODWV
None of the Republican senators will actually vote for the final passage of the debt-limit deal.