Government shutdown looms as Congress battles over debt ceiling

Politics

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The battle to keep the government open is coming to a head in Congress this week with a Friday deadline to avert a crippling credit default.

On Monday, Republicans blocked a funding package because it included a provision to raise the debt ceiling.

President Joe Biden canceled a Wednesday trip to Chicago that was to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations so he could continue working on a deal, according to a White House official granted anonymity to discuss the planning.

Republicans and Democrats are at odds over a plan to raise the debt ceiling, with Republicans saying they will not support a funding bill that includes the proposed increase.

Both sides are pointing fingers as a government shutdown grows closer.

“Last night was a low point,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Democrats of “game playing instead of governing.”

Without an agreement on the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the government will run out of funds by mid-October.

At a Tuesday hearing, Yellen said, “America would default for the first time in history, the full credit of the United States would be impaired, and our country would likely face a financial crisis and economic recession.”

But Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says right now Congress needs to stay focused on keeping the government open.

Grassley said Republicans support funding the government but if Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling, they must do it alone.

Without a funding bill, Congress will shut down starting at midnight on Thursday.

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