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Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

Another Absurd Debt Ceiling Fight? Enough Is Enough

The case for Democrats eliminating the debt ceiling in the lame-duck session is as strong as ever.

Who will keep the lights on?

Who will keep the lights on?

Photographer: Trevor Carpenter/Moment RF

People are already talking about the possibility of a government default next year if Republicans win a House majority in November. According to Axios, one of the Republicans most likely to take over the House Budget Committee is not averse using debt-limit negotiations to win concessions from President Joe Biden on such issues as immigration policy.

The basics are simple: The US will reach the statutory debt limit, last raised earlier this year, in 2023 unless Congress acts to increase it. The obvious move for Democrats is to eliminate the limit altogether during the upcoming lame-duck session, when Democrats still have majorities in both chambers of Congress and can use the reconciliation procedure to do so with simple majorities. So far, however, there’s no sign that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer intend to do so.