The Looming Debt Ceiling Debate
Democrats have discussed addressing the debt ceiling in the lame-duck session to forestall any risk that a Republican controlled House will use it as leverage to demand cuts to mandatory spending programs like Medicare, potentially provoking a financial crisis in the latter half of 2023. House Speaker Pelosi said she favors raising the debt ceiling this year before it can be made into a bargaining chip as it was in 2011 by Republicans seeking spending cuts. Democrats could use reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling without Republican help, but doing so means the Democrats own the debt politically. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has given no public indication he intends to do that, and he may not have the 50 votes he needs to succeed with a time-consuming process that would put other priorities at risk.