Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised President Joe Biden for reaching an agreement with Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, telling Senate colleagues to prepare for a weekend vote on passage of the deal.
“I salute President Biden for protecting the American economy and delivering for American families by taking the threat of default off the table,” Schumer said in a letter to other senators. “I look forward to seeing the language of the agreement and reviewing it carefully.”
On the evening of May 27, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced during a press conference that he and Biden had reached what he called “an agreement in principle that’s worthy of the American people” to raise the debt ceiling. In addition to raising the debt ceiling, the bill would cap non-defense spending at its previous levels, enhance work requirements for government assistance, and reclaim unspent COVID-19 relief funds, among other measures.
The deal announced Saturday hearkens an end to a months-long standoff between House Republicans over the debt ceiling.
A final legislative text of the package is expected sometime on the evening of May 28, following a meeting between McCarthy and Biden to hammer out final details.
“Once the final legislative text is ready, it will be made available to all members and the public to review,” Schumer said. “The House is expected to consider the legislation this coming week. We will continue to have conversations as a Caucus as we review the agreement over the coming days.”
Schumer said he would “immediately” move to consider the bill in the upper chamber following the House’s finalization of the package.
“Due to the time it may take to process the legislation in the Senate without cooperation, Senators should prepare for potential Friday and weekend votes,” he wrote.
It’s unclear if Senate Republicans—43 of whom signed a letter to Schumer demanding “substantive” reforms for their support in raising the debt ceiling—will back the compromise, which has proved divisive in the lower chamber, where some Republicans have criticized the deal as a “surrender” to Biden and Democrats.
Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), and Chip Roy (R-Texas) have all indicated that they won’t be supporting the package.
Schumer’s analog in the House, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), was noncommittal when asked if Democrats would support the package.
However, he indicated he supports its overarching goal of “avoiding a catastrophic default.”
Biden expressed confidence about the package’s prospects in Congress on May 28.
“I’m about to go in and call [McCarthy] now at 3 o’clock to make sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. I think we’re in good shape,” he said.
The president said there were no further sticking points about the package.
While Schumer’s comments make clear he plans to support the package, he nevertheless took the opportunity to criticize Republicans, who he said were “extreme.”
“These have been a difficult few weeks given how intransigent and extreme the MAGA Republicans are, but nonetheless, we must avoid default and its grave consequences for the American people,” he wrote.
The rush to pass the package comes as the United States stands just days away from a default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the federal government will run out of money on June 5 if the debt ceiling is not raised, a date she called a “hard” deadline for passage.