Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has used the debt limit as political leverage before, but this time it's different.
The Kentucky Republican has previously let the country to come perilously close to default, but McConnell has said only that he will not let Republicans vote to raise the limit while also urging Democrats to maneuver around his filibuster with the complicated budget reconciliation process, reported the New York Times.
"We have no list of demands," McConnell told President Joe Biden in a letter Monday. "As I have said for two months, I want them do it through reconciliation."
McConnell has been part of previous budget showdowns, but this year has been different because Republicans have blocked multiple attempts to raise the limit and fund the government.
"There's no bargaining," said Sen. Angus King (I-ME). "They're just stamping their feet and saying no. It's a qualitatively new level of irresponsibility."
Democrats see through McConnell's tactics as means to regain GOP congressional majorities, and to avoid upsetting the right-wing base by backing down from the standoff.
"McConnell is singularly focused on winning control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections, full stop," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). "To his mind, that means using every tactic at his disposal to cause President Biden to fail, even if that hurts the country."