DUBLIN, Nov 1 Reuters - Congressional Democrats must be prepared to address the nation's debt limit on their own if Republicans refuse to act in a bipartisan manner to avoid a national default as soon as next month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday.
There are a number of ways in which the debt ceiling can be raised, she told reporters at a news conference in Scotland following meetings before she heads to Dublin for the U.N. climate change conference COP 26.
I strongly believe that it is bipartisan responsibility to do this. There is a way for Democrats to do it entirely on their own. In October, lawmakers temporarily raised the federal government's borrowing limit to $28.9 trillion in legislation signed by U.S. President Joe Biden into law, allowing the U.S. Treasury to continue to pay debts through early December.
Yellen has repeatedly urged Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to extend the U.S. government's borrowing authority or else risk dangerous economic consequences that would trigger a recession and have ripple effects globally.
In multiple warnings to U.S. lawmakers, Yellen has noted Republicans and Democrats have historically come together to pay the nation's incurred debts and avoid what she has said would be catastrophic effects.
Raising the debt ceiling allows the Treasury to finance previously incurred spending, including measures passed under former Republican President Donald Trump.
But Trump's fellow Republicans in Congress have cited Democrats' planned infrastructure and domestic spending bills under Biden - neither of which has passed yet - as reasons they will not vote to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
Biden has called Republican's position dangerous, a notion echoed by some top business leaders.
Yellen said on Monday that Democratic congressional leaders could use a process called reconciliation to push through the debt ceiling bill on their own, adding that the Treasury would work closely with House Speaker Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to try to come up with a way to do it by the Dec. 3 deadline if needed.
Yellen made similar comments in an interview with the Washington Post published earlier on Monday.
In a separate interview with Reuters, Yellen said the United States could look at eventually lowering some tariffs on China in a reciprocal way.
She also discusses Biden's expected appointment as the Federal Reserve Chair and technology companies' potential support of global tax rules.