House Democrats said Friday they planned to take action next week to suspend the cap on the government's borrowing authority, and the White House ratcheted up pressure on Republicans by warning state and local governments that severe cuts lie ahead if the measure fails in the Senate.
Disaster relief, Medicaid, infrastructure grants, school money and other programs face drastic cuts if the debt limit stays in place, the White House warned in a fact sheet to local governments aimed at putting pressure on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has vowed to block an increase.
Democrats in the House are plowing forward despite the uncertainty. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland sent a letter Friday to colleagues saying the chamber would move to suspend the debt limit, instead of raising it. He did not specify whether the action would be tied to a resolution to keep the government operating after the fiscal year ends this month.
The Treasury Department has engaged in extraordinary measures to keep the government running after the suspended debt limit was reinstated in August at a level of $22 trillion, about $6 trillion less than the current total debt load. Treasury's extraordinary measures will be exhausted by October, creating the potential for default.