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Debt limit looms as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

The debt limit was part of a call between Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, a person familiar with the conversation told CBS News. As the U.S. barrels closer toward running out the cash to pay its bills, Yellen has warned inaction would lead to catastrophic economic consequences. 

The United States could hit the so-called X-date — when measures keeping the government running are exhausted — as soon as next month, leading to the government to default on its debts. But McConnell has said Republicans would not vote to raise the debt ceiling. 

"With a Democratic President, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate, Democrats have every tool they need to raise the debt limit. It is their sole responsibility," McConnell tweeted Wednesday. "Republicans will not facilitate another reckless, partisan taxing and spending spree."

McConnell has suggested Democrats include a provision to raise the debt ceiling in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package making its way through Congress. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the call between Yellen and McConnell was "not a political call" but to "really convey what the enormous dangers of default would be." Psaki said the president wants to maintain the full faith and credit of the U.S., and the debt limit is not a political issue and shouldn't be a partisan issue. 

"Our view is that this should be bipartisan as it has been in the past," Psaki said.

Treasury spokesperson Lily Adams said Yellen will "continue to talk to Republicans and Democrats about the critical need to swiftly address the debt ceiling in a bipartisan manner, to avoid the catastrophic economic consequences of default."

Democrats have blasted Republicans for their unwillingness to address the debt ceiling after the suspension of the debt limit expired over the summer forcing the Treasury Department to resort to so-called extraordinary measures to continue paying the bills. The debt limit was suspended on a bipartisan basis three times under President Trump including most recently in 2019.

"We didn't play games. We didn't risk the credit of the country. We did it," Senator Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday of past bipartisan votes. "Senator McConnell seems to be trying to break new ground by saying that we should let the country default." 

Schumer said there are a number of different options on the table he's discussing with Speaker Pelosi and President Biden, but it must be done. He continued to say he hopes it will be addressed in a bipartisan way. 

Last week, Yellen sent a letter to Congressional leaders warning a delay to raise and suspend the debt limit would likely cause "irreparable damage to the U.S. economy and global financial markets."

On Wednesday, the lobbying group the Business Roundtable also sent a letter to Congressional leaders on behalf of the CEOs of some of the country's biggest companies urging them to act swiftly and address the debt ceiling. 

"Failure to lift the U.S. federal debt limit to meet U.S. obligations would produce an otherwise avoidable crisis and pose unacceptable risk to the nation's economic growth, job creation and financial markets," the letter read.

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