Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday he would no longer help Democrats expand government borrowing power, raising further doubts about how Congress will avoid a federal default when a fix temporary will expire in December.
McConnell issued his warning in a letter to President Joe Biden a day after the Senate approved a $ 480 billion increase in the federal debt limit, enough to last about two months. In an eleventh-hour turnaround, the Kentucky Republican was among 11 GOP senators who gave decisive support on Thursday for a procedural decision that opened the door for the Senate to pass the measure later with only the support from the Democrats.
Some GOP senators have openly criticized their leaders for not resisting Democrats’ efforts to extend the debt limit any longer, which they say sharpened their message that a multibillion-dollar package still in development. Biden’s main national priorities is wasteful and detrimental to the economy. .
McConnell said on Friday he had made up his mind to refuse future aid because of his opposition to the huge House Bill and because of a “bizarre spectacle” in the Senate by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ( DN.Y.). After the bill was passed, Schumer criticized Republicans for trying to push the country to the edge of the cliff by opposing the extension of the debt limit.
“In light of Senator Schumer’s hysteria and my grave concerns about how another partisan, reckless and reckless spending bill could harm Americans and help China, I will not participate in any future efforts to to alleviate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement, ”McConnell wrote.
It is still unclear how Democrats would push new legislation further extending federal borrowing power in December without GOP support.
One theoretical way is for them to change Senate rules and protect debt limit legislation from GOP obstructions, delays that require 60 votes to overcome in the Senate at 50-50.
At least two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have said they oppose it, thereby thwarting the option. Republicans said one of the factors that helped provide Democrats with the two-month lifeline was fears that Manchin and Sinema would decide to support an end to filibustering for debt limitation legislation.
McConnell’s letter included a series of insults aimed at Schumer, a remarkable flank of one Senate leader against another.
“Last night in a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded into such a partisan, angry and corrosive rant that even Democratic senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him,” McConnell wrote. “This tantrum summed up and intensified an angry pattern of incompetence on Senator Schumer’s part.”
McConnell added, “This childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this patch in the short term. It poisoned the well even more.
A spokesperson for Schumer declined to comment on McConnell’s letter.
Since the summer, McConnell has repeatedly stated that Republicans will not help Democrats push for a Senate debt ceiling extension by helping them achieve the 60 votes needed for most laws. He cited the Democrats’ 10-year, $ 3.5 trillion-proposed social, economic and fiscal measure, which Republicans unanimously oppose.
Hours before Thursday’s vote, McConnell backed down and offered a short-term extension until December. Without a renewal of federal borrowing authorities, the Treasury Department predicted it would run out of cash to pay government bills by October 18.
Republicans lambasting McConnell’s tactics included former President Donald Trump, still influential in the GOP. Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), usually an ally of McConnell, called the move a “complete surrender”.
If the government exhausts its legal capacity to borrow money, financial analysts have warned that it could deal a serious blow to the U.S. and global economy and lead to delays in government payments to Social Security recipients and to others.
McConnell insisted Democrats can raise the debt ceiling on their own using the same special budget process they already use for their huge domestic spending and tax measure. These procedures prohibit the use of systematic obstruction against certain bills.
Democrats say they won’t use this process, which they say is too cumbersome. But it would also require them to raise the debt limit by a specific amount that they fear Republicans will be part of campaign ads attacking them.
Democrats accused McConnell of creating a potential financial crisis. They noted that the current federal debt of about $ 28 trillion was to cover spending already approved, including about $ 7 trillion under Trump.
McConnell said Democrats are at the root of the problem because he has warned them since the summer that they would have to approve the extension of the debt limit themselves. By Thursday, the House had approved extensions to the debt ceiling but Republicans blocked them in the Senate.
After the $ 480 billion borrowing extension removed the procedural hurdle with GOP backing on Thursday, the Senate gave it its final approval by 50-48 with only Democratic votes. Final congressional approval of the Senate extended short-term debt ceiling extension is expected in the House on Tuesday.
After the Senate vote, Schumer praised Democrats for overcoming “this Republicans fabricated crisis.” Despite overwhelming opposition from Leader McConnell and members of his conference, our caucus stood firm and we pulled our country off the edge of the cliff that Republicans tried to push us on. “