Why don't Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling via budget reconciliation?

I’m not too familiar with the debt ceiling issue, but I’ve read the Dems say they refuse to do it via budget reconciliation. Why is that, and how is it not worse then breaking the filibuster or minting a trillion dollar coin? Thanks.

Maybe they want to have the cake and eat it, too. I mean, the Republicans are really in the wrong to be obstructive on this issue.

“Why should I have to clean up this mess all on my own when he helped make it?”

Other potential reasons. A. Democrats can’t agree on a fixed dollar amount for the new debt ceiling, and if you do it with reconciliation you need a fixed amount. B. There isn’t enough time to do so, although Republicans have offered not to obstruct a temporary measure kicking the can to December.


My understanding is that they’re playing a bit of hardball on that, essentially trying to call the Republican’s bluff. The Republicans are posturing to be against the debt ceiling raise, so they can later claim they “tried to stop the Democrats from spending” while expecting it to pass anyways via reconciliation. Doing it this way holds their feet to the fire.

The Democrats also have a different plan for their 2022 reconciliation bill: a larger infrastructure package. While it’s not procedurally impossible to pass both (either as a single bill or under strict rules that would let them pass two different bills), but it’s not ideal. It bucks tradition and might kill momentum for the infrastructure bill.

That’s my take, anyways. It’s what I wanted them to do. Either the Republicans will have to cave (as their donors won’t like it if the US has to shut down or default), or the Dems would have to modify the filibuster. To me, it seems like a win-win scenario for them.

Reconciliation is extremely difficult, time consuming, easy to delay, and burns a ton of political capital.

Moscow Mitch has a scorched earth policy.

Dems should do the trillion dollar coin - markets will buy that because they have no choice. And then the Dems should take all the political capital, which Moscow Mitch wants wasted on the debt he blew out with trump, and get rid of the filibuster.

Better than the trillion dollar coin is to raise the debt ceiling to a $quadrillion. That will solve the problem for the foreseeable future. Or mint a $quadrillion coin.

Ultimately, the Democrats are (so far) refusing to go along with the Republican attempt to make them “own” the increased debt limit. There are short-term political reasons for this – if it passes through reconciliation with only Democratic votes, every Democratic incumbent will face a political advertising onslaught at their next election that they voted to burden your children with a zillion dollars of debt while Republicans will crow that they fought tooth-and-nail to prevent it.

But there’s a longer term calculation as well that if Democrats let Republicans escape the political consequences of their own taxing and spending policies, it will create an imbalance between the parties where Republicans can cut taxes and increase spending at will while Democrats will be the “clean up crew” who will have to raise the debt limit or otherwise cut spending or raise taxes. “I cleaned up the other guy’s mess,” generally isn’t a vote winner.

Aren’t they limited to the number of items they can pass using reconciliation? Using it for the debt ceiling rather than a bill that could further their agenda would seem to be a waste.

I don’t want to see the Dems take the reconciliation route, as it’s long and complicated, and it’s not a sure thing that they’d have all the votes they need at the end of the ordeal. The debt ceiling should be raised with a simple vote - making it more complicated plays right into the GOP’s hands.

They should continue to call Mitch’s bluff and use the nuclear option if he doesn’t allow the vote, which would end the tactic altogether as long as Dems have control of the Senate. The Dems look better when they stop looking wimpy. Using reconciliation is wimpy. Calling Mitch’s bluff and nuking the filibuster is using their power, which is what they must do. They have to show voters that they can beat Republicans and get their legislation passed.

The trillion dollar coin is likely unconstitutional and unlikely to be used.

It’s my understanding that the reconciliation process in and of itself isn’t actually all that difficult. But,

It’s also my understanding that under current rules, reconciliation can only be used once per session.

Democrats want to use the reconciliation process to pass their “build back better” infrastructure bill, which is otherwise a dead letter due to Republican opposition and the filibuster. If, as betonbill states, Democrats pass a “clean” bill on the debt ceiling through reconciliation, they won’t be able to pass their infrastructure bill. They could also make an increase to the debt ceiling part of that infrastructure bill, but due to its size and complexity, and serious differences between progressives and centrists, getting that bill passed is indeed extremely difficult, time consuming, easy to delay, and burns a ton of political capital. Democrats are very unlikely to be able to pass a combined bill before we hit the debt ceiling.

This is not correct. It can be used up to three times per session, once each for spending, taxes and debt.

:flushed: D’oh! You’re right, of course.

(That should teach me to actually double-check my facts instead of relying on memory, but based on past performance, it unfortunately probably won’t…)

Minting the coin seems like the absolutely worst option. Voters don’t understand the budget process and it’s hard to get voters interested in how a debt limit was increased, but everyone will understand how minting a trillion dollar coin is clearly trying to circumvent law through loopholes. The mileage Republicans will get out of that, mein got. IIRC, last time the Republicans didn’t vote for a debt limit increase, they took the majority of the blame. I’d just call their bluff or go reconciliation.

Again, it’s probably unconstitutional. The president can’t raise revenue - that’s congress’ job.

I was just surprised people thought it was a good idea even if it was legal.

When they make coins, the government makes money on seigniorage, which is the diffierence in the face value of the coins and the actual cost to make them. I don’t think anyone thinks that making money that way is unconstituional. A platium trillion dollar coin would just have a lot more seigniorage than gold or silver coins.

Making a coin for the purposes of creating cash that pays bills is creating revenue. To be clear, I think its stupid – there shouldn’t be a debt ceiling at all.