Factbox: How may America’s debt ceiling showdown play out?


WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress is locked in a standoff that dangers triggering a monetary and financial meltdown if lawmakers do not elevate a restrict on authorities borrowing earlier than Oct. 18, the day the U.S. Treasury may run out of money for paying authorities payments.

The drama’s central gamers are Senator Mitch McConnell, who leads the Republican minority within the Senate and has vowed to hinder regular legislative efforts to boost the debt ceiling, and Senator Chuck Schumer, chief of the chamber’s Democratic majority and an ally of President Joe Biden.

Here are some methods the battle would possibly play out within the Senate:


Schumer has twice tried to win approval of a debt ceiling improve beneath common legislative procedures and is about to attempt once more on Wednesday.

Prior makes an attempt had been blocked by McConnell’s Republicans, who’ve used the Senate’s filibuster rule which requires a 60-vote majority to approve most laws. The 100-member chamber is evenly break up and Democrats can solely muster 51 votes when Vice President Kamala Harris casts a tie-breaking vote.

If Schumer’s try on Wednesday fails, as anticipated, the Democrat may swap to utilizing an arcane legislative course of often called reconciliation. That bypasses the filibuster and Democrats would solely want a easy majority to win. This path carries its personal dangers, nevertheless, as congressional guidelines would require a prolonged course of in each the House of Representatives and Senate.


McConnell may carry the Republican filibuster blockade within the vote on Wednesday or in subsequent days if Schumer sticks together with his present technique and retains mentioning the failed invoice or an identical one for votes.

Financial market buyers have up to now been largely sanguine concerning the dangers, betting that Washington will not manufacture a monetary disaster by defaulting on its debt.

But as Oct. 18 approaches, markets may swoon, ramping up stress on McConnell.


Democrats and Republicans have periodically sparred over the debt ceiling, significantly during the last 10 years as Washington has grown extra polarized.

In the previous, a minority celebration has typically used the talk as leverage to go different legislative priorities, corresponding to deficit discount. On Monday, McConnell has stated his celebration has no calls for and merely desires Democrats to make use of the reconciliation course of.

Schumer may counter by transferring to ban the usage of the filibuster on debt ceiling payments, stated William Hoagland, a former Republican Senate staffer now on the Bipartisan Policy Center.

There are dangers, nevertheless. Changing Senate guidelines would require each vote the Democrats can muster and a few outstanding members of the celebration are diehard supporters of the filibuster.


While not seen as a probable situation, if Washington exhausts the few remaining instruments it has for dealing with its $28.4 trillion borrowing restrict round Oct. 18, it would solely have incoming tax receipts for paying its payments. And as a result of it at present borrows greater than 20 cents for each greenback it spends, the Treasury would begin lacking funds owed to lenders, residents or each.

Shock waves would ripple by world monetary markets. Domestic spending cuts would push the U.S. economic system into recession as the federal government misses funds on every little thing from Social Security advantages for the aged to troopers’ salaries.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Richard Cowan and Cynthia Osterman

The U.S. Capitol building is pictured at dawn along the National Mall in Washington, U.S., September 29, 2021.  REUTERS/Tom Brenner