McConnell tells Biden he won’t cooperate with Democrats to raise debt ceiling again
By Rachel Janfaza and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday warned President Joe Biden that he should not expect cooperation to raise the debt ceiling again, a day after he voted with Democrats to overcome a hurdle procedural and make way for a temporary extension of the limit until the beginning of December.
“I am writing to let you know that I will no longer provide such assistance if your all-Democratic government sinks into another preventable crisis,” McConnell said in a letter to Biden.
The couple also spoke on Friday, according to a source close to the conversation, and another source close to the conversation said McConnell gave the president the same message that was in the letter.
The Senate voted 50-48 Thursday in favor of the extension after 11 Republicans, including McConnell, broke ranks to help Democrats overcome a filibuster. The move by the Kentucky Republican allowed the debt ceiling deal to avert the economic catastrophe, announced earlier today, to move forward after weeks of partisan stalemate on the issue.
The House is expected to meet on Tuesday to vote on the bill and will need to approve the measure before it can be sent to Biden for signature.
While extending the debt limit may avert immediate economic catastrophe, it does not resolve the underlying partisan deadlock on the issue, but only delays the fight until another day.
In his Friday letter, McConnell touted the deal as due to his leadership and blamed Democrats, namely Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for the crisis.
âSenator Schumer has brought the nation to the brink of disaster,â he said. âEmbarrassingly, we have come to the point where senators on both sides have argued for leadership to fill the void and protect our citizens. I stepped up.
McConnell’s reaction comes after Schumer delivered what Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and several Republican senators sharply criticized as too partisan speech on Thursday night.
The New York Democrat criticized Republicans in his speech for nearly pushing the nation into bankruptcy and chided their handling of the issue: “The Republicans have played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I’m glad their tip did not work. For the sake of American families, for the sake of our economy, Republicans must recognize in the future that they should approach debt ceiling setting in a bipartisan fashion.
In his Friday letter, McConnell called Schumer’s speech 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 said.
CNN reported Thursday that senators on both sides of the aisle reacted negatively to Schumer’s speech.
âI thought it was totally irrelevant. I thought it was an incredibly partisan speech after we just helped them solve a problem, âsaid Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the GOP whip, who helped find Republican votes including Democrats. needed to overcome the filibuster and had voted for himself. despite his opposition. “I let him have it.”
Manchin, a bipartisan preacher who tries to bring parties together on a number of issues, was also unhappy with the tone of Schumer’s speech, which took place on the crowded Senate floor as senators waited to vote final on the extension of the debt ceiling. .
âI don’t think that’s appropriate at this time,â the West Virginia Democrat said. âI know Chuck’s frustration built up, but that wasn’t the way to take him out. We just disagree. I would have done it differently.
McConnell said his post on Friday came “in light of Senator Schumer’s hysteria,” as well as concerns about the “partisan spending bill.”
Ahead of this week’s vote, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned of the danger of what would be the first US default in history if the debt ceiling was not raised, and said that there would be catastrophic consequences.
Republicans have insisted for months that Democrats must act alone to tackle the debt limit through a process known as budget reconciliation. Democrats argued that the issue is a shared bipartisan responsibility, that the reconciliation process is too long and cumbersome, and the risk of miscalculation would be too high.
McConnell said on Friday that by giving Democrats more time, it will be up to them to resolve the crisis without his cooperation if the United States is on the brink again.
âI will not participate in any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement. Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to tackle the debt ceiling through stand-alone reconciliation, and all the tools to do so. They can’t invent another crisis and ask for my help, âhe wrote.
This story and title have been updated with additional developments.
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CNN’s Manu Raju and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.