Democrats weigh all options after Republicans block gov’t funding bill -Durbin

WASHINGTON — Democrats are exploring all of their options to avert a government shutdown this week after Republicans on Monday shot down a measure to fund federal agencies and suspend the debt limit, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin told MSNBC.

“Were exploring all of our possibilities,” he said in an interview on Tuesday but declined to give any details. Durbin added that it would take as many of three or four weeks if Democrats were to try to use a process known as reconciliation to pass a funding measure with fewer than 60 votes.

“Frankly, it isn’t really practical for us to consider that,” he said.

On Monday, the sharply divided Senate failed to advance the legislation ahead of two fast-approaching deadlines with current federal government funding due to expire late Thursday and the U.S. Treasury set to exhaust its borrowing capability sometime between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4.

The 48-50 mostly party-line vote fell short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead with the bill in the 100-seat Senate, although Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer could call another vote. Democrats narrowly control both chambers of Congress and must now find another way to keep the government operating.

“It just amazes me that they would use this procedural weapon … to really jeopardize the economy of this country and its recovery period through this pandemic,” Durbin said. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nick Zieminski)

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