Senate leaders said they're finalizing the details of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the October 18 deadline, but that plan would essentially be a snooze button that would put lawmakers right back here in the middle of next month.
It appears that Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate have reached an agreement to avert a debt ceiling crisis in the short term, but it remains unclear what the long-term solution will be.
With Democratic leadership preparing to hold a vote Wednesday afternoon on a House bill to suspend the debt limit until after the midterm elections in 2022, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell offered a compromise: Republicans were prepared, he said, to get out of the way and let Democrats use an expedited reconciliation process to raise the debt limit or would allow a straight up or down vote on a short-term extension of the debt limit through the end of November.
Late Wednesday afternoon, indications were that Democrats were prepared to accept the offer to do a short-term extension.
That still leaves them in the position, a month or two from now, of having to come up with a longer-term solution, which Republicans will likely still insist can only be done through budget reconciliation – that they will use the filibuster to block anything else. Democrats, for varying reasons, would prefer not to have to use that procedure to raise the debt ceiling. One reason is that it would require that they actually set a numerical limit on where to cap the debt. It currently sits at just under $29 trillion.