McConnell says McCarthy ought to take the lead on negotiating the debt ceiling standoff

Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell addressed the looming debt restrict downside throughout a press convention on January 24. Win McNamee/Getty Photos conceal caption

toggle caption


Win McNamee/Getty Photos

Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell addressed the looming debt restrict downside throughout a press convention on January 24.

Win McNamee/Getty Photos

Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stated crafting an answer to keep away from a catastrophic debt default this summer time ought to originate within the Republican-controlled Home, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy taking level on negotiations with the White Home.

“I can’t think about any debt ceiling provision handed out of the Senate with 60 votes might really move this explicit Home,” McConnell instructed reporters Tuesday. “I feel the ultimate answer to this explicit episode lies between Speaker McCarthy and the president.”

The U.S. hit the debt restrict — presently $31.4 trillion — final week, catapulting Washington into a well-known, high-stakes political combat with probably devastating financial penalties.

The Treasury Division has employed “extraordinary measures” to cowl the debt for a number of months, a band-aid that might be torn off by June. If Congress fails to lift or droop the debt restrict earlier than then, the federal authorities received’t be capable to pay its obligations, like Social Safety and Medicare. It would additionally result in an unprecedented debt default, the financial penalties of which might ripple worldwide.

How does the debt ceiling combat have an effect on me?

Traditionally, a debt restrict breach has been prevented by merely elevating the debt restrict, one thing that’s been finished 78 occasions since 1960. As NPR’s Ron Elving stories, the buildup of debt and subsequent elevating of the debt restrict has been finished by each Republican and Democratic administrations. The ceiling was final raised by $2.5 trillion in December 2021.

However this time round, some Home Republicans, who narrowly management the decrease chamber, wish to tie debt ceiling talks to negotiations on spending cuts. McConnell instructed reporters he thinks it’s “solely cheap” for the Home to “put spending reductions on the desk.”

Democrats have cried foul, claiming Home Republicans are flirting with a debt default to attempt to extract finances cuts. High Democratic leaders additionally notice there have been bipartisan votes to carry the debt ceiling when former President Donald Trump was in workplace.

4 ways around a debt ceiling crisis — and why they might not work

“This can be a manufactured and pointless disaster that’s going to break our economic system and jobs nicely earlier than the default,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., instructed reporters Monday. “I feel it actually holds Social Safety, Medicare and Medicaid hostage.”

McCarthy, who made handshake offers on slicing spending to Republican holdouts in his protracted combat for the speaker’s gavel, now faces a tough balancing act: making good on pledges to chop spending at each flip whereas passing a invoice to carry the debt ceiling.

“We’ve obtained to alter the best way we’re spending cash wastefully on this nation, and we’re going to ensure that occurs,” McCarthy beforehand instructed reporters, including: “We don’t wish to put any fiscal issues by our economic system, and we received’t.”

Lawmakers issued calls to barter with the White Home

Many Senate Republicans say that now that Republicans management the Home, it’s incumbent on the White Home to start talks with McCarthy.

“In the end, I feel it’s going to must be negotiated by the Home and the White Home,” Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn instructed reporters. Requested if he was on the identical web page as Home Republicans, Cornyn replied, “I don’t know what web page they’re on.”

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has additionally referred to as on the White Home to come back to the negotiating desk.

“I feel it’s important to sit down and discuss to all people and discover out if there’s an objection and discover out the place it’s,” he instructed reporters Monday. “Everyone knows that we’re going to move the debt ceiling, we’re not going to let the nation default.”

Manchin added: “We should always sit down and notice we’ve obtained a debt that’s completely unsustainable — [but] you would not have to scare or threaten anyone about how they’re going to lose their advantages. Social Safety and Medicare needs to be completely protected instantly. That needs to be off the desk fully, and we should always begin taking a look at all totally different areas that we’ve got earlier than we proceed down this path.”

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah instructed reporters the White Home “wants to interact” and stated slicing any advantages to present retirees or near-retirees is “off the desk.” He added that longer-term debate about reforming obligatory spending on Social Safety and Medicare needs to be explored. He has sponsored a invoice with Manchin that he stated may very well be a part of that broader dialogue.

Why we have a debt ceiling, and why this trip to the brink may be different

Romney stated it was vital to work now on a deal to deal with the debt restrict as a result of it’s not an summary subject; considerations over the financial fallout might impression folks with mortgages, automotive loans and retirees frightened concerning the impression on Social Safety funds.

“We are able to’t have folks frightened about whether or not they’re going to receives a commission,” Romney harassed to reporters.

When requested whether or not obligatory spending for the social security internet needs to be on the desk, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the no. 2 Senate GOP chief, instructed reporters he didn’t assume the dialog would middle on these packages.

“I feel the difficulty is are we going to do something to tell our spending in a method that makes these packages extra sustainable for the long run. And as [McConnell] identified, I feel there’s at all times a chance when one thing like this comes up, to have a dialog which generally can result in an final result, which occurred in 2011 with the Funds Management Act.”

Thune additionally stated he thought any deal that would move the Home and get President Biden’s signature was prone to garner the 60 votes wanted to keep away from a Republican filibuster.

The White Home has stated Biden needs to satisfy with McCarthy, however no date has but been set.

NPR’s Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.