Mitt Romney Will Join GOP Filibuster Against Debt Ceiling Vote: 'We Are All Together'

Senator Mitt Romney has said he will back Republicans in the upper house in filibustering a vote to raise the debt ceiling, as the GOP standoff with Democrats deepens amid the prospect of an unprecedented government default.

The stakes could not be higher ahead of a Senate vote expected Wednesday on whether to take up legislation to raise the government's $28.4 trillion debt ceiling until December 2022.

Both parties remain in a stalemate over raising the debt limit before the October 18 deadline, beyond which the Treasury Department has warned it will run short of funds to pay down the accrued debt load.

But with 10 Republican senators required to make the 60 threshold for the vote to pass, the legislation is expected to fail. A filibuster by Republicans would stop the Democratic-controlled Senate from even debating a measure to raise the debt ceiling.

Senate Republicans have blocked votes on raising the debt limit twice in the last two weeks. In comments made to reporters on Tuesday, Romney suggested that this would continue.

"We're not voting in any way to help raise the debt ceiling. As a group we are all together," Romney said in comments tweeted by Bloomberg and reported by The Salt Lake Tribune in his home state.

Newsweek has contacted Romney's office for comment.

A default would cause a fiscal crisis that would hit the markets, the government and ordinary Americans. Credit rating firm Moody's said in September that a default could cause a four-percent slump in economic activity, the loss of almost 6 million jobs and a sell-off in stocks that could wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth.

Democrats' frustration towards the GOP is growing, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying: "The best way to get this done is just for Republicans to get out of the way."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Democrats should force the debt ceiling measure through the budget reconciliation process, which does not need GOP support, to get around the filibuster rule, but Schumer has rejected this approach.

However, moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, an obstacle to passage of the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, has suggested that the reconciliation process should be considered, telling CNN, "they shouldn't rule out anything."

Meanwhile, Democrats were considering an even more radical approach by sidestepping Senate filibuster rules to get a swift approval of raising the debt limit.

This would involve making an exception to allow the bill to pass with a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes needed.

Some Democrats have said if curbing the filibuster is the only option left, the party could get 50 votes for the rule change, The New York Times reported. "I think that's a real possibility," Biden told reporters on Tuesday.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) during a Senate hearing at Capitol Hill on September 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C. He said he would join his GOP colleagues to filibuster a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Greg Nash/Getty