- Ariel Azar
Compromise struck on Capitol Hill
As the debt ceiling draws near, instead of the Democrats passing their 3.5 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, Democrats are forced to compromise with Republicans. There has been partisanship and entrenchment of politicians on both sides not willing to compromise on the infrastructure bill and the debt ceiling. Although the Senate is controlled by the Democratic party, the filibuster forces compromise. Under Senate rules, a “filibuster” can stop a bill unless there is a three-fifths majority, currently 60 votes, to move it forward. Therefore, in the current 50-50 Senate, the Democrats need 10 Republican Senators to stop the filibuster and pass laws. But market forces and business interests are bringing both sides to compromise because if Congress does not act, the market will punish Congress circa 2008 when Congress did not act and the Dow Jones declined by 777 points during the great Recession. In order for the United States not to default on its huge debt, the Senate Majority Leader takes the Minority Leaders' offer to delay the debt ceiling to December. But why did the Senatorial Leaders do this deal? The minority leader, Senator McConnell, is looking toward the midterm elections. Senator McConnell wanted to underscore the chaos of a unified democratic government, struggling to lift the debt ceiling. Republicans hope to hammer Democrats over that in 2022. Senator Schumer is also eyeing the midterms. He hoped to portray the GOP as obstructionists on the debt ceiling. But the Majority Leader knew that a crisis with the debt ceiling would hijack the Democratic agenda. Democrats could not afford an economic crisis, a market shock, layoffs and a bankrupt Treasury – all tied to the debt ceiling. This would undercut the Biden presidency. Therefore, the Senate had to compromise and voted to raise the nation’s debt limit into December.