McConnell Steps Back From Debt Fight Between Biden And McCarthy

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/27/2023
In an effort to increase the pressure on President Biden to engage with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on legislation to raise the debt ceiling, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) made it apparent that he had no intention of intervening to break the deadlock on Wednesday. 

As he did during the debt-limit dispute in 2011 and again in 2021, when he provided one of 14 GOP Senate votes to extend the federal government's borrowing power, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believe McConnell will ultimately have to come up with a compromise package to avert default.  

But McConnell cautioned on Wednesday that Biden would be unable to keep avoiding direct discussions with the Speaker.  

"I think the Speaker has done an excellent job of unifying our side and it's logical for many of you to begin to wonder what happens next whether the House passes this measure or not," McConnell said in reference to McCarthy's suggestion to tie the debt ceiling rise with $4.8 trillion in spending cuts.  

What follows is what I have been saying for the last several months, he stated. "I want to disabuse any of you who think that any measure that receives 60 votes in the Senate cannot be approved by this House."

He said, "This agreement must be struck between the Speaker and the President because we must never default.  

McConnell said that "the president knows how to do this," citing the agreement he and Biden, who was the vice president at the time, reached in 2011 to increase the debt ceiling in return for hefty expenditure cuts.   

Biden is aware that "you don't always get what you want in a divided government," he said. 

"So, I would remind the president — just as he did in 2011 — that this is one of those occasions," he said. We'll be in a stalemate until he and the Speaker of the House come to an agreement. 

"The American people expect the president and the Speaker to get together and work this out," he said.  

As McCarthy pushed vehemently for 218 Republican votes in the House to support his plan, McConnell delivered his remarks.  

After McConnell's news conference, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters that if McCarthy's bill passes the lower house, it would be "dead on arrival" in the Senate. 

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