Op-Ed Urges Conservatives to Support CJR, House to Consider Debt Limit Deal, McConnell Says No More Deals on Debt Limit
By Jason Pye - Director, Rule of Law Initiatives
Point of Order is a (mostly) weekly preview of key congressional activity for those with more than a passing interest in federal policy.
Keep moving criminal justice reform: Mark Holden, of Americans for Prosperity, and I have a piece up over at Fox News in which we make the case that conservatives should continue to advance criminal justice reform legislation. Check it out here.
A short-term debt limit deal: Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bailed out Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) by offering a deal to temporarily increase the debt limit. McConnell had said for months, as far back as at least early August, that Democrats would need to go it alone on the debt limit. With the October 18 deadline looming, McConnell said that Schumer would have to use budget reconciliation to increase the debt limit, which Schumer refused to do. Then McConnell offered a short-term increase in the debt limit, which Schumer accepted. The deal—the vehicle for which is S. 1301—increases the debt limit by $480 billion. This increase should get Congress through at least early December, although some, like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), have suggested that the real deadline is early January. McConnell was able to deliver the votes to approve the cloture motion, and the Senate passed S. 1301, as amended.
Schumer’s remarks about the debt limit deal: Immediately after the Senate voted to advance the debt limit legislation, Schumer gave remarks that angered many Republicans. “Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work,” Schumer said. “Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn-out, convoluted, and risky reconciliation process. That was simply unacceptable to my caucus, and, yesterday, Senate Republicans finally realized that their obstruction was not going to work.”
Schumer’s description of the process for using budget reconciliation to increase the debt limit is little more than theater. It would’ve almost certainly taken less than two weeks to amend the budget resolution to allow for a debt limit increase, go through two rounds of “vote-a-rama,” mark up the legislation, and pass it out of both chambers. More than anything else, Schumer wanted to suspend the debt limit, rather than increase it by a specified dollar figure, and the debt limit can’t be suspended through budget reconciliation.
And McConnell’s letter to President Biden: McConnell was angered by Schumer’s remarks. He sent President Biden a letter on Friday in which he wrote, “I am writing to make it clear that in light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”
Senate recess: The Senate is in recess this week, although there are scheduled pro forma sessions. There are no committee meetings currently scheduled. The Senate will return Monday, October 18.
Debt limit increase on the floor in the House: Votes were added to the House schedule on Tuesday. The House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow at 1:00 pm to consider the rule for the Senate amendment (i.e., the debt limit increase) to the House amendment to S. 1301. We’re not sure if S. 1301 will have its own rule or not. There are three other bills that will also be reported to the floor with a rule: the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, H.R. 3110; the Protect Older Job Applicants Act, H.R. 3992; and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act, H.R. 2119. It’s unlikely that these other three bills will be considered on Tuesday.
House committee schedule: Below are some House committee hearings that may be of interest. The full House committee schedule for the week can be found here.
Domestic Violent Extremist Groups and the Recruitment of Veterans (Veterans’ Affairs, Wednesday at 10:00 am)
Markup of several legislative measures (Natural Resources, Wednesday at 11:00 am)
Growing the Small Business Supplier Base in Government Contracting (Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure, Wednesday at 12:00 pm)
Task Force on Artificial Intelligence: Beyond I, Robot: Ethics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Digital Age (Financial Services, Wednesday at 12:00 pm)
Legislative hearing on several measures (Veterans’ Affairs, Wednesday at 2:00 pm)
Legislative hearing on several measures (Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands; Thursday at 10:00 am)
The Future of Forecasting: Building a Weather-Ready Nation on All Fronts (Science, Space, and Technology; Thursday at 11:00 am)
Cashed Out: How a Cashless Economy Impacts Disadvantaged Communities and Peoples (Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Thursday at 12:00 pm)
Investing in American Jobs: Legislation to Strengthen Manufacturing and Competitiveness (Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, Thursday at 12:00 pm)
Impacts of Abandoned Offshore Oil and Gas Infrastructure and the Need for Stronger Federal Oversight (Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Thursday at 12:00 pm)
Zoned Out: Examining the Impact of Exclusionary Zoning on People, Resources, and Opportunity (Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance; Friday at 12:00 pm)
If you’re interested in watching any of these hearings online, you can find committee websites here.
UGA vs. Kentucky: What a wild weekend of college football that was capped off with Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M. Until the loss, Alabama was the top-ranked team in the nation. That’s a spot that the University of Georgia now holds. On Saturday, UGA will take on the University of Kentucky in Athens, Georgia. This makes things a bit awkward in the justice reform community. “Why’s that, Pye?” I’m glad you asked. Holly Harris of the Justice Action Network is a UK alum who loves her Wildcats. I grew up a huge UGA fan and go to games whenever I can. UK is actually pretty good this year. I mean, think about this. The only two undefeated SEC teams are UK and UGA. Alabama lost a game before UK. Who thought that would happen? Holly, just so you know, I’m keeping my trash talk to a minimum. UGA has been here before, and it didn’t end well. That said, I’m stoked that UGA is playing lights-out defense and has an offense that takes care of business even if it’s not super flashy.
Due Process Institute is a bipartisan nonprofit that works to honor, preserve, and restore principles of fairness in the criminal legal system.