Senate conservatives withhold support from McConnell debt plan

Senate conservatives are withholding their support for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's (Ky.) fallback plan to raise the debt limit.

McConnell has proposed legislation that would authorize President Obama to request an increase in the debt ceiling, which Congress could block only with a resolution of disapproval. But Senate conservatives are declining to support it.

"My focus is to take a different approach," said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who offered a budget plan earlier this year cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in spending.

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"I really need to get on a path to a balanced budget. That's what the cut, cap and balance plan would do. It would balance the budget," he said, referring to a plan supported by other conservatives that would entail deep spending cuts, enforceable spending caps and passage of a balanced-budget amendment.

Conservative groups have pushed lawmakers to insist on passage of a balanced-budget amendment before agreeing to raise the debt limit.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said that's also his concern, declined to endorse the McConnell plan.

"I'm still trying to work on our plan, and our plan is we want cut, cap and balance," Paul said.