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Republicans signal compromise over raising debt ceiling

By Simon Druker
Republicans signal compromise over raising debt ceiling
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell speaks at a news conference with Republican leadership following the weekly Republican caucus luncheon on Tuesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Republican leaders, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, signaled Tuesday that they may be willing to compromise in order to allow the government to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

Raising the debt ceiling would avoid reaching what the Bipartisan Policy Center refers to as "X Date," the exact day the government will no longer be able to pay its bills.

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In September, House Democrats voted to approve a bill to keep the federal government running and suspend the debt ceiling past the 2022 midterms. That bill now sits in the Senate, where, until Tuesday, Republicans have been threatening to block it.

McConnell said Tuesday he was "confident" that he would be able to corral adequate Republican support to get the bill through the Senate. At least 10 Republican senators would need to get on board for the bill to pass.

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A vote is slated for Thursday night.

"There are always differences of opinion among Republicans about how to handle a delicate issue like the debt ceiling. I'm confident that this particular procedure coupled with the avoidance of Medicare cuts will receive enough Republican support to clear the 60-vote threshold," McConnell told reporters.

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Hardline Republicans such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah continued to oppose the compromise.

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McConnell's strategy involves allowing Democrats to raise the debt ceiling through a majority vote, but only to a certain amount, rather than a specific date. That would likely carry the country through November's midterm elections. That type of increase would likely fall between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion.

A compromise would allow Democrats to avoid using the budget reconciliation process, which is often referred to as cumbersome.

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