McConnell punts on shutdown solution

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday declined to take sides in the squabble among House Republicans over a government shutdown.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio) has tried to convince his colleagues to support legislation that would keep the government open after Oct. 1 while forcing the Senate to vote on defunding ObamaCare.

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That approach was dismissed by the right wing of his conference, and now 70 House conservatives are supporting an effort to tie a one-year defunding of ObamaCare to the government funding resolution.

McConnell, who crafted deals to end the 2011 debt-ceiling standoff and the 2012 fight over the "fiscal cliff," said it's up to the House to find a path forward.

“One thing all Republicans agree on is that we think ObamaCare was the worst piece of legislation in the last 50 years. …The question at this point is what the House will send us,” he told reporters. “It’s up to them. We will react to what they send us. And we’ll be happy to vote on it at that point.”

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McConnell made clear that he supports BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE’s call to attach spending cuts to the debt ceiling increase that will be needed by mid-October. 

“I would be stunned if we raised the debt ceiling and didn’t do something about the debt. That’s the view of virtually every Republican,” he said. 

He said that Obama has only shown a willingness to reduce the deficit when forced to by GOP leverage.

“The request to raise the debt ceiling is one of those opportunities,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday dared the GOP to allow the U.S. to default on its payment obligations. 

“If the Republicans think that it’s good for the country to not pay our bills and risk the full faith and credit, then that’s what they’ll have to do. We are not negotiating over the debt ceiling,” he said. "We are not going to have them hold the CR or the debt ceiling hostage to ObamaCare.”

Reid said the Senate would not act on the shutdown crisis until the House does.