(The Hill) - Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the chairman of the conservative Senate Republican Steering Committee, is threatening to use “every procedural tool” at his disposal to slow down Senate passage of a bill to raise the debt ceiling if it doesn’t include “substantial” reforms.
Lee could drag out the floor proceedings on a bill for days, something that negotiators could now have to factor into their timeline as they scramble to reach a deal before the nation defaults.
“I will use every procedural tool at my disposal to impede a debt-ceiling deal that doesn’t contain substantial spending and budgetary reforms. I fear things are moving in that direction. If they do, that proposal will not face smooth sailing in the Senate,” Lee tweeted Thursday morning in response to media reports that White House negotiators and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are getting closer to an agreement on spending levels.
Lee has an array of tools at his disposal to bog down any debt limit deal.
He could insist on a full reading of the bill and refuse to agree to waive motions to skip other time-consuming procedural formalities on the Senate floor.
The eventual deal will likely fall short of the major reforms included in the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which the House passed last month.
That bill would raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion in exchange for $4.8 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.
Lee earlier this month spearheaded a letter signed by 43 Republican senators warning they would not vote to advance “any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms.”
But any debt limit bill that has McCarthy’s support would get enough Republican votes to pass the Senate even if it didn’t include what Lee and other conservatives would consider “substantial spending and budgetary reforms.”
By Alexander Bolton
May 25, 2023