Facing enormous pressure from conservatives, and a brewing revolt against many of his vulnerable members, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bent down on wounded knee to pitch the debt ceiling deal President Donald Trump cut with the Democrats as a GOP victory.
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According to breitbart.com:
“Let’s put it this way,” McConnell told the New York Times in an interview on Monday regarding the debt ceiling deal Trump cut with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “The deal is not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was.”
McConnell’s framing is that the debt deal decouples the looming December spending bill battle from the debt ceiling fight—which he says will take place next year—eliminating leverage points for Democrats and increasing GOP leverage in the pair of forthcoming battles.
The New York Times’ Carl Hulse explained McConnell’s reasoning as such:
The reason? Mr. McConnell said that he insisted the newly passed legislation preserve Treasury’s ability to apply ‘extraordinary measures’ and shift money within government accounts to pay off debt and extend federal borrowing power.
That will delay the need for another increase in the debt limit well beyond the December deadline that Democrats have been trumpeting as their big moment of leverage. And Mr. McConnell said he did so over the objections of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader and aforementioned counterpart.
In fact, Mr. McConnell said, the debt limit will not have to be increased until well into 2018, taking that volatile subject off the table for the December spending talks, and eliminating the Democrats’ most dangerous bargaining chip in the first round of negotiations.
Separating the debt ceiling from the deadline to fund the government also addresses one of the main complaints of conservatives who were unhappy that last week’s legislation linked hurricane relief and the increase in the debt limit, forcing many to either cast a debt limit vote they were unhappy about or to oppose hurricane relief.