It’s unclear how Democrats will address the debt ceiling deadline after Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have repeatedly stated they will not help with legislation to raise the limit. Republicans have insisted that Democrats must act alone to address the debt limit through a process known as budget reconciliation, which would require no GOP support for passage.
Democrats have argued the issue is a bipartisan responsibility. While Democratic leaders have publicly dismissed the possibility of using reconciliation — arguing the process is too lengthy and unwieldy and that the risk of miscalculation would be too high — as the deadline looms, it could be the only way to address the issue without changing the filibuster, which Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has repeatedly opposed.
Also Monday, Biden plans to sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a ceremony expected to draw a mix of Democratic House and Senate lawmakers, as well as governors and mayors from both parties.
This week, while House Democrats will focus on trying to pass the $1.75 trillion economic bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, Schumer said in his letter the Senate will instead have a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a crucial bill that funds the nation’s military and intelligence operations.
“On a bill of this magnitude, this process takes time and patience,” Schumer said in his letter Sunday. “Timing of consideration of the BBBA in the Senate will largely depend on when the House sends us the bill and when CBO finalizes their scores for all of the committees, which are needed to complete the ‘Byrd Bath’ process.”
“I do believe that we will have a vote this week on the Build Back Better act. It will go to the Senate and then it will be up to the Senate Democrats and the President, who gave us his commitment that he believed that he could get this across the finish line in the form that the framework was presented,” the Washington state Democrat said on MSNBC Sunday morning. “So, yes is the short answer. We will have a vote this week.”
Schumer also noted in his letter that the Senate’s schedule for the rest of the year could run longer than predicted.
“Keep your schedule flexible for the remainder of the calendar year,” he said in the letter to fellow Democratic senators. “I am confident we can get each of these important items done this year, but it will likely take some long nights and weekends.”
CNN’s Sarah Fortinsky contributed to this report.