Such a mechanism — dubbed by Democrats the “McConnell provision” after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — was included in the law that increased the debt ceiling last year, and Obama has proposed establishing it permanently as part of a deal to steer clear of the fiscal cliff’s automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at year’s end.
“The McConnell Provision received broad bipartisan support last year,” Jenni LeCompte, assistant Treasury secretary for public affairs, wrote in a blog post. “In fact, it was one of those rare policy proposals that received support from both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times editorial boards.”
The debt limit is set to be reached by the end of the year, but Treasury can take extraordinary measures to extend the government’s borrowing capacity until the first few months of 2013.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.