Prominent Republicans are complaining Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave Democrats an out in the contentious debt ceiling debate.
Their grumbling hasn’t subsided since McConnell revealed details of the deal to the Senate Republican Caucus. Insiders say that disappointment with their usually savvy leader was palpable.
As The Hill reports:
One GOP senator said “you could hear a pin drop” when McConnell shared the details of his plan to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling to “a fixed number” without having to undergo the arduous process of amending the 2022 budget resolution and holding multiple time-consuming vote-a-ramas on the Senate floor.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said some of his GOP colleagues were thrown for a loop because 46 Senate Republicans signed a letter in August warning Schumer they “will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle.”
Cramer at least partially defended McConnell’s actions. By forcing Democrats to vote on the debit ceiling in December vulnerable senators will be on the record. That’s something Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wanted to postpone until after the midterms.
Folding to the Democrats?
However, former President Trump, who firmly retains control of the Republican Party, bashed the deal. Trump said McConnell “had all the cards” but accused him of folding to the Democrats. There are other downsides in the eyes of conservative Republicans as well.
The Hill continues:
Republicans have said for months that they would not provide any assistance to Democrats in raising the debt limit, especially since Democrats are working on a $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package that would raise taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars.
At least 10 Republicans need to vote for the procedural motion to pave the way for legislation that would raise the debt limit by $480 billion, which is enough to cover the U.S. government’s financial obligations until Jan. 3.
The Key Moment
After a day of uncertainty, McConnell persuaded 11 members of his caucus to break the 60-vote filibuster threshold. Their support moved the final vote on the debt limit increase to the Senate floor. The measure cleared the Senate 50-48, with two Republicans absent for the vote.
The bill now goes to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. Without delay, Speaker Pelosi wrote her colleagues, saying she may recall them from their recess to Washington for a vote. President Biden has confirmed he will sign the bill.
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