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President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that Democrats could use the "nuclear option" to prevent Republicans from filibustering their plan to raise the debt ceiling.
"Oh, I think that’s a real possibility," Biden told reporters on the White House’s South Lawn about the possibility of a "nuclear option" to prevent Republicans from filibustering the vote to raise the debt ceiling.
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Biden’s comment comes as some Democrats have floated the idea.
"There are discussions," Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told The Hill earlier this week about talks on how to avoid a Republican filibuster.
Earlier this week, Biden urged Republican senators to "get out of the way" and let Democrats raise the nation’s debt limit, hoping to keep the U.S. government from bumping dangerously close to a credit default as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to lend his party’s help.
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Biden’s criticism came as Congress faces an Oct. 18 deadline to allow for more borrowing to keep the government operating after having accrued a total public debt of $28.4 trillion. The House has passed a measure to suspend the debt limit, but McConnell is forcing Senate Democrats into a cumbersome process that could drag on and approach the deadline with little margin for error.
McConnell warned Biden on Monday that Republicans won't help Democrats raise the debt ceiling and told the president he should convince members of Congress from his party to raise the debt limit along party lines
"Since mid-July, Republicans have clearly stated that Democrats will need to raise the debt limit on their own. All year, your party has chosen to pursue staggering, ‘transformational' spending through unprecedented use of the party-line reconciliation process," McConnell said. "I have relayed this reality to your Democratic lieutenants for two and a half months."
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McConnell added: "Your Democratic majorities have no plan of their own to avoid default. … I respectfully submit that it is time for your to engage directly with Congressional Democrats on this matter."
Over the weekend, Biden said that Republicans would be acting irresponsibly if they choose to filibuster raising the debt ceiling.
"Well, I hope Republicans won’t be so irresponsible as to refuse to raise the debt limit and to filibuster the debt limit," Biden told reporters Saturday. "That would be totally unconscionable. Never been done before. So I hope that won’t happen."
The Senate is set to vote Wednesday on whether to take up legislation to raise the debt limit. It will take 60 votes to move forward, which experts believe is unlikely.
Associated Press contributed to this report
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