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Democrats should raise U.S. debt ceiling on their own -McConnell

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Senate Republicans discuss potential Democratic tax hikes during press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats should vote to raise the debt ceiling on their own, U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday, as the federal government moves closer to exhausting its borrowing capability.

"If they don't need or want our input, they won't get our help. They won't get our help with the debt limit increase that ... these reckless (spending) plans will require," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Democrats are planning to vote on a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that will incorporate social initiatives and items to fight climate change that they say are not properly addressed in a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

Despite controlling both congressional chambers by thin margins, Democrats can pass the reconciliation bill without Republican support if they stick together.

The budget vote would come before the United States is projected to exhaust its borrowing authority in October, and as the Treasury Department has already announced measures such as suspending investments in employee health benefits funds to preserve the government's borrowing authority.

Failure to approve an increase in the statutory debt limit, now at $28.5 trillion, could lead to another federal government shutdown or a debt default.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Cornwell; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)

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