McConnell says GOP won’t vote to raise debt limit, setting off conflict in Congress

McConnell’s threat prompted outrage from top Democrats, warning that GOP leaders are playing a dangerous game that could plague the US economy. Republicans argue that it is not unusual for a majority party to bear the burden of raising the debt limit, a politically toxic vote for re-election to lawmakers.

“I can’t imagine there would be a Republican voting to raise the debt limit after what we’re experiencing,” McConnell said in an interview. punch bowl news Published Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called McConnell “shameless, cynical and outright political” in remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday morning.

“This loan is the Trump loan,” Schumer said. “It is the debt of Covid. Democrats joined three times during the Trump administration to do the responsible thing and the bottom line is that Leader McConnell should not play the political game with the full confidence and credit of the United States. Americans pay their debt We do.”

Illinois Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Oregon Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden also criticized McConnell’s comments on Wednesday.

“Mitch McConnell is playing Russian roulette with this economy,” Durbin said. “This is completely irresponsible, underline irresponsibility.”

“I want it to be understood, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I’m not going to let anyone hold our economy hostage,” Whedon said.

Loan Limit Option

While Congress is facing an August deadline for a loan limit, the Treasury Department has a number of methods available to delay the debt limit until its effect declines, due to end on September 30.

In the meantime, Democrats may include debt limit hike their budget resolution bill It is currently being debated, multiple sources tell CNN.

Senate Democrats may try to vote to raise the debt limit along straight party lines before the August recess under the rules of the chamber, according to two Senate sources with knowledge of the process.

This is because they can split the conciliation package – one to deal with the debt limit and the other To pass a massive $3.5 trillion resolution – Something that would be allowed under the Budget Act of 1974.

Congress must first pass a budget resolution before it can pass a reconciliation package along straight party lines. Democrats plan to vote on the budget proposal this month.

Democratic leaders have not said whether they would like to split the reconciliation bill — or do it all in one package.

But a more likely scenario is that Democrats could tie the debt limit to a near-pass funding bill in late September, which would force Republicans to decide whether they want to vote in default and have the government at the same time. want to shut down. .

If Democrats include an increase in the debt limit in the reconciliation, lawmakers would need to choose what the new borrowing limit should be in the law, given special budget rules.

What this could mean politically for Democrats

The issue is seen as politically treacherous, but is important to avoid debt defaults as Republicans will undoubtedly use it as a talking point before the 2022 midterms as they seek to take back a majority in both houses of Congress. Let’s try. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is holding a news conference in what she describes as “the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree.”

Republicans, however, voted to approve an increase in the debt limit under former President Donald Trump, and McConnell didn’t mention in a punchball interview that under his leadership of the Senate last year, members spent extra $ to fight the coronavirus. 1.4 trillion was approved. and fund the federal government.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month That unless Congress takes action, the US could exhaust its ability to borrow this summer, even if the federal government takes steps to buy additional time.

House Ways and Means Speaker Richard Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat, said last month that he wanted to move “as soon as possible” to raise the national debt limit.

“I think it’s a good idea to increase the debt limit as soon as possible,” Neil said, adding that the length of the extension would be “subject to negotiation.”

This story and title were updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

CNN’s Ali Zaslav and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

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