GOP Senators Chafe at McConnell’s Debt Ceiling Compromise

As Congress neared the end of the debt limit debate that began in the summer, numerous Senate Republicans were unhappy with the agreement Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made with Democrats on a procedural vote.

McConnell agreed to let Democrats raise the debt ceiling, as long as they did so on their own. GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville told reporters immediately after McConnell introduced the notion to his peers at lunch that he was not very enthusiastic about the idea at this time.

Republicans had a red line that they were unwilling to cross.

He said they should let the Democrats go if they received the votes. However, they must also keep an eye out for Medicare reform. 

Initial Plans to Not Increase the Debt Limit

Previously in this year, almost all Senate Republicans signed an open letter stating that they would not vote to raise the debt limit in protest of the Dems’ political expenditures. They said Democrats should avoid a filibuster by raising the debt ceiling through reconciliation.

But Senate Democrats refused, leading to a deadlock in October when both parties warned of default if they didn’t get their way. McConnell endorsed a temporary debt ceiling hike through this month but vowed Republicans would not vote to raise the debt limit again.

With a possible December default approaching, McConnell is embracing a complicated plan that he thinks would force Democrats to increase the debt ceiling sans GOP votes.

As part of the accord, the Senate would be allowed to raise the debt ceiling by a bare majority, rather than a 60 vote mandate. McConnell argues this is the same as using reconciliation since Democrats will raise the debt ceiling, rather than delay it for some time.

Democrats Own Debt Ceiling Issues

McConnell feels they’ve struck a compromise that allows Democrats to proudly own the debt ceiling problem, which they’re pleased to do. Nonetheless, other Republicans were upset by the concept, even though they may have voted for it.

GOP Sen. Cynthia Lummis expressed her displeasure with the combining of the bills; it puts everyone in a pickle.

Lummis stated they would do it with a number, this way both techniques get the same outcome. Since the outcome is the same regardless of the approach, she said she needs to carefully examine the suggestion.

No one wants to default, says Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. However, he would like to see some progress in our debt situation as part of lifting the debt ceiling. GOP Sen. Rick Scott said simply that he opposes increasing the debt ceiling.

The House approved a bill to avert Medicare cutbacks and allow the Senate to increase the debt ceiling by a simple majority on Tuesday; the Senate planned to take it up on Thursday.

That bill still needs 10 GOP votes to overcome a filibuster. Given McConnell’s power over his colleagues, that’s a low threshold, but he may not have as many more votes.

If the parliamentary bill passes the Senate, the debt limit will likely be raised next week.