Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is taking some heat from his own conference after he caved to Democrats on the debt ceiling without first notifying members of his party

Both GOP aides and strategists say that his fellow Senators are unhappy with how McConnell handled the situation. 

After insisting for months that Republicans would take no part in raising the debt ceiling, McConnell surprised Republicans by announcing he cut a deal with the Democrats.

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Statement By McConnell Unknown To Other GOP Senators

Mitch McConnell kept his surprise secret, as other Republican Senators knew nothing of the offer to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

Even some of McConnell’s fellow establishment Republicans, like Senate Republican Policy Committee Chair Roy Blunt (MO), and ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee Lindsey Graham (S.C.), made it clear to the Minority Leader that they weren’t happy with the move.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to the Senate floor to blast the deal, saying, “I believe Democratic Leader Schumer was on the verge of surrendering and then unfortunately … Republicans blinked. I think that was a mistake.”

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The Usual Suspects

In the end, Mitch McConnell was able to persuade ten Republicans to join Democrats in raising the debt ceiling. The list reads like the usual list of Republicans who can tend to go wobbly.

In addition to McConnell, the “yes” votes were Sens. John Cornyn, John Barrasso, John Thune, Roy Blunt, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Richard Shelby, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, and Mike Rounds.

This was not an issue for Blunt, Shelby, and Portman as they are all retiring at the end of their terms. It could become an issue for Lisa Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022.

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Political Fallout For McConnell

After cutting the deal, McConnell told Biden that he likely won’t be able to do it again – saying that he probably won’t be able to find 10 Republicans to raise the debt ceiling again in December.

Democrats would have to raise the debt ceiling by themselves to get the mammoth $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill passed.

Tough words, but that’s the same story McConnell was giving to his own party members before he cut this current deal.

McConnell also has to deal with a party base that supports Donald Trump – who has not made his feelings about McConnell a secret.

It could get lonely at the top for Mitch McConnell.

 

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