Why the GOP is threatening to block a debt limit extension they say is needed

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Republicans say the debt limit must be extended. They support the contents of the bill to which it is attached. And they're promising to block that vote.
WASHINGTON — When the Senate votes Monday afternoon on legislation to fund the government and avert a catastrophic default on the debt, it is likely to be blocked by a Republican-led filibuster.

As the U.S. hurtles toward an October deadline, Republicans have taken an unusual — if not unprecedented — position.

They support the contents of the bill, with the exception of the debt limit increase. They also say the debt ceiling must be extended, yet they promise to use the 60-vote threshold power to block it. They insist Democrats do that on a partisan basis.

But top Democrats emphatically reject that. They say the debt ceiling has historically been raised on a bipartisan basis, and they won't let Republicans off the hook this time.

Behind the high-stakes hostage standoff is a GOP desire to weaponize the issue politically.

They want Democrats to tackle the debt ceiling in a separate filibuster-proof package because, under Senate budget rules, that would require endorsing a dollar figure on how much the U.S. can borrow. It'd be high due to the accumulation of debt over generations — $30 trillion or more.

Republicans see that as fodder for attack ads in the 2022 elections, when they hope to regain control of Congress by telling voters that Democrats are on a reckless spending binge.

Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the GOP Senate campaign arm, told NBC News he intends to make the debt ceiling an issue in the 2022 midterms if Democrats lift…
Sahil Kapur
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