McConnell closes in on support for new debt ceiling strategy



“I’m going to support Democrats raising the debt ceiling without Republican votes,” Cornyn stated. “To have Democrats raise the debt ceiling and be held accountable for racking up the debt is my goal. And this helps us accomplish it.”

The laws launched by House leaders, the product of weeks of conversations between McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, would droop filibuster guidelines for a debt ceiling enhance for a couple of month. But it might require Democrats to boost the debt ceiling to a selected quantity reasonably than droop it for a size of time, similar to by the election.

Republicans can tout that as a key concession, whereas Democrats efficiently rebuffed Republicans’ efforts to pressure them to make use of the extra cumbersome funds reconciliation course of to boost the debt ceiling. The debt enhance would possible vary from $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion to make sure Congress will not have to deal with the debt once more earlier than November midterms, in accordance with a number of individuals aware of the matter.

It’s a shocking turnaround for McConnell, who made blanket opposition to Democrats’ rising the debt ceiling a central pillar of his political strategy this summer time. On Tuesday, McConnell argued to his management staff that it’s a one-time course of and that forcing Democrats to personal that quantity makes the proposal price supporting, in accordance with an attendee.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) additionally sounded heat on McConnell’s plan on the management assembly. Republicans then held a full occasion lunch afterward, which was anticipated to proceed the dialogue.

“It does achieve a specific number and it’s what you could do with reconciliation if you didn’t have any amendments allowed. So, we’ll see what the members say. I would expect they would be for it,” Blunt stated.

Blunt was amongst 11 Republicans who voted to interrupt a filibuster on elevating the debt ceiling in October, an inner debacle for McConnell, who had spent weeks insisting Democrats increase the debt restrict by way of the funds reconciliation course of. McConnell is attempting to keep away from a sequel to that episode, though Republicans will nonetheless must grease the skids for Democrats.

It’s a essential second for the GOP chief, who comes below incessant assault from former President Donald Trump for his maneuvering as minority chief in the 50-50 Senate. His members panned tying a debt ceiling enhance to the National Defense Authorization Act, and a few aren’t able to associate with his newest play.

Democrats “control the agenda in the Senate. There’s no reason for us to try and facilitate anything for them again,” stated Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who helped break the October filibuster. “I could be fairly pragmatic. But this one?”

“I like them having to use the reconciliation process. And to the degree we could help facilitate that a little easier, I’m fine with,” stated Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “I’m a little less enthused about” the opposite fast-track choices.

House Democratic leaders on Tuesday launched a compromise National Defense Authorization Act in addition to a separate piece of laws that enables for the filibuster-free debt restrict vote. The latter can even embrace a measure to keep away from as a lot as $14 billion in cuts to Medicare funds subsequent 12 months, triggered in half by the funds reconciliation course of used to move Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic help bundle in March.

House Democrats will tee up motion on these individually, leaving it as much as the Senate to beat a filibuster to move each measures. The House would nonetheless have to additionally move the debt restrict enhance later this week.

If profitable, the Senate would then nonetheless must vote to deal with the debt restrict, however the course of would make an exception to Senate guidelines so Democrats would solely want 51 votes to take action. Schumer reported “good progress” in their talks on Tuesday morning and continued sounding a unique observe than he did in October, when he and McConnell went to warfare day by day over the debt restrict.

“I’m optimistic that we will be able to prevent the awful prospect of the U.S. defaulting,” Schumer stated. “I continue to thank all of my colleagues for cooperating in good faith.”

House leaders hoped to vote as quickly as Tuesday night on each the protection invoice and the debt restrict course of. If so, members would possible be voting late into the night.

Further complicating issues, a number of House members traveled to Florida on Tuesday for late Rep. Carrie Meek’s funeral, and members of the Armed Services panel had been nonetheless finalizing textual content of the protection invoice on the identical time. Regardless, the House hopes to wrap its work Wednesday in preparation for companies to honor former Sen. Bob Dole beginning Thursday. Dole, who died Sunday, will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda later this week.

This is technically the final week the House is scheduled to be in session till mid-January, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned members they may return sooner or later over the vacations if the Senate passes Democrats’ $1.7 trillion social and local weather coverage invoice by then.

Marianne LeVine and Caitlin Emma contributed to this report.



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