Mitch McConnell moves to cut debt ceiling deal but faces GOP opposition

By Manu Raju, Chief Correspondent for National Assembly CNN

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is quietly moving to develop a plan that would allow raising the country’s borrowing limit and force the Democrat to ultimately vote decisively and politically toxic – but he will have to sell it to Republicans first.

To fulfill their plan, Republicans will first need to cooperate under Senate rules. And it’s unclear whether the necessary 10 GOP senators will make that happen.

McConnell, who in the past has developed innovative ways to avoid default without needing Republicans to cast a key vote, has quietly worked for weeks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer before the deadline of December 15th set by the Ministry of Treasury. His position resulted in a drastic change from the last debt ceiling earlier this fall when he initially refused to provide any GOP votes before cutting a deal with raise debt ceiling in two months — and then told President Joe Biden outright that there would be no more GOP cooperation.

Now ahead of another deadline to avoid the nation’s first default and disastrous effects will go along with itMcConnell is eager to avoid a financial crisis that could be blamed on his party – especially as the GOP’s fortunes are on the rise in next year’s midterm elections.

“The country will never default,” McConnell said confidently at a Wall Street Journal event on Monday night. “We often have drama associated with this decision. But I can assure you that the country will never default.”

So he and Schumer are privately floating around creating a new process that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised to just 51 votes in the Senate – with a Democratic vote only – and only in this particular case. But in order to create the new Senate process, a bill would need to be enacted first, meaning 60 votes would be needed to disrupt the GOP’s likely process to advance the process creation law.

To lessen the chances of passage, Democrats and McConnell discussed tying this new Senate process to National Defense Authorization Act, a bill must pass setting out the country’s defense policy. Once the NDAA is signed into law, Congress can raise the debt ceiling under this new process – and do so based solely on Democratic votes.

Democrats are considering three different options in the House: One is to include the debt ceiling measure in the basic defense bill; another would be to pass a Senate process bill separate from the defense bill; and a third the House passed a rule that would allow the new process to be added to the defense bill after it passed the House and before consideration by the Senate.

Each of those options will require 60 votes in the Senate before the new fast-track process can become law.

But Republicans are lining up to oppose tying any debt ceiling measure to the defense bill.

Texas Senator John Cornyn, a member of McConnell’s leadership team, told CNN: “I think it confuses the message. “So if I vote for the NDAA, people will say I voted to raise the debt limit? I am not for that”.

To get the defense bill out of the House, GOP support may be needed as Democrats can only afford to lose three votes with a narrow majority and some libertarians rejecting it. development of Pentagon programs.

In a sign that the plan is facing difficulties, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has actively criticized tying the two bills together, writing on Twitter: “The funding of the military Our team through the NDAA should not be tied to the debt limit in the process. or substance. ”

Other conservatives have rejected the new proposed process altogether, with Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah tweeting that it “won’t include the Senate. THAT IS A MUST ‘Swallow the air conditioner!’ “

McConnell is likely to speak at his conference on Tuesday on the issue.

But after years of scrambling, McConnell and Schumer are working on their second financing deal in recent weeks – after they struck a deal last week. to keep the government open until mid-February.

In remarks on the floor on Monday, Schumer vowed that they would “work to address debt limits and maintain the full confidence and credit of the United States” and thanked McConnell “for his cooperation in the that problem.”

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