U.S. Senate Republicans block debt limit hike again

Republicans in the U.S. Senate again blocked a bid to raise the federal debt ceiling on Tuesday, sending Democrats scrambling to avoid a government shutdown and a potentially crippling default.

Borrowing authority is set to run out next month.

And federal government funding is set to expire on Thursday, leaving lawmakers little time to avert a shutdown which could leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers unemployed.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell reiterated on Tuesday that Democrats should be responsible for lifting the borrowing limit themselves, without GOP support.

"There is no chance the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible."

Meanwhile, Democrats insist that some $5 trillion of the nation's debt came from Republican President Donald Trump's time in office.

The standstill over the debt limit brings an additional challenge for Democrats, who are already at odds over President Joe Biden's trillion-dollar infrastructure package and an even larger social spending package.

A government shutdown or default would be a huge blow for Democrats ahead of next year's congressional elections.

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