Senate GOP to reject Reid plan to push debt limit until next year

Senate Republicans plan to block Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying world Senators fume over fight to change rules for Trump's nominees After Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp MORE’s (D-Nev.) bid to push the debt limit until Dec. 31, 2014, increasing the nation’s borrowing authority by an estimated $1.1 trillion.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Pruitt proposes rule targeting 'secret science' | Dems probe Pruitt's security chief | FAA bill provisions could strip endangered species protections Senators press administration on mental health parity Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses MORE (Alaska), a pivotal centrist Republican, on Wednesday called Reid’s legislation “politically transparent.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“We just do a clean increase for the next year to get us beyond the election? I’m sorry. We’re asking for transparency around here, but that’s about as politically transparent as anything I can think of,” she said.

The Senate Republican caucus now seems near unanimous that Reid is playing political games. And that likely blocks Reid’s plan to pass a clean 14-month debt-limit increase to put pressure on House Republicans to act.

Reid followed a similar game plan the last time Congress faced a major fiscal impasse. The Senate pressured the House to accept tax increases on the wealthy by passing a bipartisan bill on the New Year’s Day deadline.

Reid argues it is the Republicans who are playing games by holding the nation’s credit rating hostage in order to appease Tea Party activists and super wealthy conservative donors.

“Republicans and Democrats may have our differences, but neither side should hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage while we resolve them,” he said.

Some Republicans expressed willingness to vote for a clean bill to raise the debt limit, but they have since backed away from anything that would extend borrowing authority for more than a few weeks without spending reforms in return.

“Nobody’s going to buy that on our side,” said Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Overnight Cybersecurity: Senators eye path forward on election security bill | Facebook isn't winning over privacy advocates | New hacks target health care Paul backs Pompeo, clearing path for confirmation MORE (R-S.C.).  

“It’s irresponsible to do nothing about the debt, and it’s irresponsible to be stirring up anxiety about default,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Trump's nominee for the VA is on the ropes MORE (Ky.).

“But that doesn’t mean the American people are wrong to ask that a debt-limit increase include reforms aimed at actually tackling the problems that got us here in the first place,” he added.

Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerLet's hold Facebook to the same standards as other players in the industry Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator Miss. Dem touts campaign poll saying he leads GOP candidates in Senate race MORE (R-Miss.), emerging from a meeting with colleagues, said “virtually all of us” would vote to sustain a filibuster.

Instead, several Republican senators have floated proposals they hope could lay the groundwork for a bipartisan deal to reopen the government and avoid a default.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Memories may be beautiful, yet… Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Arizona GOP blocked from changing rules on filling McCain's seat MORE (R-Ariz.) has been at the center of these efforts.

He has worked closely with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWinter Olympians call for action on climate Trump’s CIA pick facing brutal confirmation fight Senate panel to examine Trump officials' election security efforts MORE (R-Maine) on a plan to reopen the government, repeal the medical device tax — while offsetting the cost of doing so — and give federal agencies flexibility to manage the automatic cuts known as sequestration.

“I think John wants a solution, too,” said Graham, one of McCain’s closest allies. “We’re all talking to each other and our Democratic colleagues. We’re trying to find a way forward for the country. What Susan’s done is very constructive.”

Collins’s plan has yet to gain traction with Democrats, however.

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingRand's reversal advances Pompeo Pompeo headed for confirmation after surprise panel vote Donnelly becomes third Dem to support Pompeo MORE, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, said he does not want to set a precedent of granting concessions in exchange for keeping the government open and out of default.

“I think it’s a creative proposal, but what I’m struggling with is whether we ought to be negotiating in this circumstance,” he said.  

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinPompeo faces pivotal vote To succeed in Syria, Democrats should not resist Trump policy Hannity, Kimmel, Farrow among Time's '100 Most Influential' MORE (Ill.) said he has had multiple conversations with McCain but nothing has come to fruition yet.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators debate new business deduction, debt in tax law hearing Tax rules will be subject to more OMB review under new memo Ending sex trafficking tomorrow requires preventing child abuse today MORE (R-Ohio) has proposed pairing a debt-ceiling increase with both tax reform and $600 billion in savings from entitlement program changes that President Obama endorsed in his budget. Portman’s plan would fund the government through the end of fiscal 2014 at the level set in the Budget Control Act.

A Senate GOP aide said Portman is talking with red-state Democrats who want spending reforms.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Tenn.) has spoken with colleagues about linking a budget deal to reforms to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that would save $1 trillion over the next decade.

Corker, an emerging Senate deal-maker, said Tuesday he would not support a clean increase in the debt ceiling.

Senators said the Republican leadership is whipping rank-and-file members to vote against Reid’s debt-limit bill.

When asked about colleagues’ predictions that the Democratic proposal would fall short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance, Senate GOP Whip John CornynJohn CornynRand's reversal advances Pompeo Joe Scarborough predicts Trump won't run in 2020 Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller MORE (R-Texas) said, “I sure hope that’s right.”

Reid might not be able to keep his caucus unified behind a clean long-term debt-ceiling increase.

Centrist Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySchumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State McConnell tees up Pompeo nomination after dramatic committee vote Rand's reversal advances Pompeo MORE (Ind.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Health Care: Trump's VA pick on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for nominee | Senate panel approves opioid bill | FDA cracking down on e-cig sales to kids Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Senate panel to vote next month on maternal mortality bill MORE (N.D.) declined to state their positions on the legislation Wednesday.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSchumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Fox News poll: Blankenship trails Jenkins, Morrisey in West Virginia primary McConnell tees up Pompeo nomination after dramatic committee vote MORE (D-W.Va.), another centrist, told reporters Tuesday that it would make sense to discuss deficit reduction in connection with increased borrowing authority.

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.), who said Monday he could vote for a clean debt-ceiling increase, qualified his answer the following day.

A GOP aide said Kirk would support a short-term increase but not Reid’s bill to push the debt ceiling beyond the 2014 midterm election.

Sen. Jeff Chiesa, a centrist Republican from New Jersey, said he was leery of passing a yearlong debt-limit increase without spending cuts.

“I’m concerned that we’re going to raise it without taking some long-term measures on the spending side,” he said.

Durbin said Reid would move ahead with a vote to end debate and advance the 14-month debt-limit increase, even if he is not certain of having enough votes.