The latest on the debt ceiling standoff in Congress as deadline looms

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, walks to the Senate chamber on October 6.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, walks to the Senate chamber on October 6. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Democrats and Republicans remain locked in a stalemate over how to address the debt limit, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is now publicly floating two potential options to avert a default.

The move marks a shift that opens the door to a potential path forward amid the ongoing partisan impasse, but it’s not yet clear if it will be enough to end the deadlock and whether a deal can be reached between the two parties.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip, told CNN that Democrats are “waiting to see it” when asked if his party would agree to McConnell’s offer.

Durbin also said it would be “unacceptable” if the deal requires that Democrats still use reconciliation later on.

  • Speedy reconciliation: In a statement on Wednesday, McConnell said that Republicans have “already made it clear” that they would “assist in expediting” a process known as reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to raise the debt limit without GOP votes. Democrats have been generally opposed to that idea, however, calling it too unwieldy, time-consuming and risky.
  • A short-term fix: In addition to that, McConnell said that Republicans “will also allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a member of Democratic leadership, said the proposal from McConnell is still being drafted into legislative language.

“At this point we have no language. There is an idea, there is a proposal, (but) there is no proposal in writing,” she said.