Dems seek to "avoid a shutdown, at all costs" as GOP picks debt fight

Publicly, Senate Democrats’ preferred option is to continue pressuring Republicans to buckle and accept their proposal linking government funding and a debt ceiling increase. But failing that, they say they need to ensure they avoid a momentum-draining shutdown next week amid the pandemic and internal dissent over acting on President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.

So as the debt stalemate pushes the country toward economic debacle, several Democrats said in interviews that they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the government open — which would almost certainly involve dropping a borrowing limit hike from their funding package and starting negotiations with Republicans who’ve vowed to block any increase. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hasn’t briefed his members on any back-up plan, but many in the party say a shutdown on their watch is not an option…

There isn’t going to be much time to maneuver. The Senate could consider the House-passed government funding bill, which lasts through Dec. 3 and suspends the debt ceiling for a year, as soon as this weekend, although Democratic sources said a vote is most likely to occur on Monday. The government is set to shut down just four days later, on Oct. 1.