WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans won’t lend a hand to avoid a potential government default in December, less than a day after some GOP senators blasted him for helping Democrats extend the debt ceiling Thursday for two months.
In a sharply worded letter to President Joe Biden Friday, the Kentucky Republican said Democrats had had ample time to extend the debt limit without a Republican lifeline but that he “stepped up” because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “lacked the time and leadership skills to manage a straightforward process.”
Biden wrote that he was writing to him “I am writing to let you know that I won’t provide such assistance again if the all-Democratic government of yours drifts into another crisis.”
The country faces default by Oct. 18 if Congress does not pass a bill that allows the U.S. Treasury to keep paying its obligations.
Senate Republicans had for weeks vowed not to help, contending that Democrats who narrowly control Congress could do so without GOP help and because they were upset that GOP lawmakers had not been included more in the crafting of taxation and spending legislation.
McConnell’s approval and blessing on Thursday allowed 11 Republicans to support every Democrat to end a filibuster. This enabled the measure to get to the floor, where a simple majority passed it without any GOP votes. It is likely that the House will approve Tuesday’s two-month extension and forward it to the President.
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Some fellow Republicans, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, grumbled that McConnell had caved.
“Here’s our problem as Republicans. Graham stated on Thursday that Republicans had said two months ago they would do one thing. They’ve already done another.” “This was self-inflicted injury and we don’t need to repeat it.”
Former president Donald Trump, through his Save America PAC, also tried to convince senators prior to the vote not to back “this terrible deal being pushed by folding Mitch McConnell.”
Schumer and the other Democrats had criticised Republicans for undermining the nation’s creditworthiness and inviting economic catastrophe, particularly when much occurred while Trump was in office and Republicans in charge or a large part of Congress.
Learn more:What is the significance of the federal debt limit? Let’s see how America’s debt really looks.
“Despite immense opposition from Leader McConnell and members of his conference, our caucus held together and we have pulled our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over,” Schumer said after the vote, in a speech whose partisan tone further angered McConnell who said Democrats should have been grateful for GOP help.
McConnel’s letter to Biden stated that “it has poisoned even more the well.”