(Add quotes from Durbin, background)
WASHINGTON, Sept.28 (Reuters) – Democrats are exploring all their options to avoid a government shutdown this week after Republicans on Monday rolled back a measure to fund federal agencies and suspend the debt ceiling, told MSNBC United States Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin.
“We were exploring all of our possibilities,” he said in an interview on Tuesday but declined to give details. Durbin added that it would take at least three or four weeks if Democrats tried to use a process known as reconciliation to pass a fundraising measure with fewer than 60 votes.
“Frankly, it’s not really practical for us to consider this,” he said.
On Monday, the sharply divided Senate failed to push forward the legislation before two fast-approaching deadlines, with current federal government funding set to expire Thursday night and the US Treasury poised to exhaust its capacity to loan between October 15 and November 4.
The predominantly party-line 48-50 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill in the 100-seat Senate, although Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer could call a another vote. Democrats tightly control both houses of Congress and now must find another way to make government work.
“It amazes me that they are using this procedural weapon (…) to really jeopardize the economy of this country and its period of recovery through this pandemic,” said Durbin. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nick Zieminski)