GOP ready to declare victory in debt fight

Republicans on Sunday framed an emerging debt-ceiling agreement as largely giving them what they wanted in a debt deal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also pushed back against suggestions the prolonged fight over raising the debt ceiling has hurt the GOP, which the White House has accused of intransigence in the talks.

{mosads}”I don’t think we’ve been hurt at all,” McConnell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The American people wanted us to do something about out-of-control spending and … the debt ceiling is going to produce what many people would believe is a complete change in the trajectory of the federal government beginning to get spending under control,” said McConnell, who is poised to be largely responsible for any package that wins muster with Congress.

An eleventh-hour deal being negotiated by lawmakers and the White House would shrink the deficit by about $3 trillion in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling for 22 months. A first round of $1 trillion in deficit reduction would only include spending cuts, a Republicans demand, while the rest would be worked out in a bipartisan commission later this year.

Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) acknowledged that conservative Republicans were able to get their way in the talks.

“Democrats have shown throughout this debate a willingness to compromise,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

“There are people on the left who would probably say ‘no cuts,’ but they haven’t been able to have their way within our caucuses, whereas this hard right group seems to get its way all the time,” he said.

Still, Schumer said Democrats haven’t given up the fight and will press for revenue raisers while seeking to block cuts to Social Security and Medicare when the bipartisan commission begins work on the next round of deficit reduction.

To be sure, the emerging deal includes things that neither party is happy about, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on ABC’s “This Week” that he was unsure he would support the package.

“I don’t know where I’m going to land,” he said.

If a deal emerges from the Senate, GOP and Democratic leaders in the House will face another tough round of arm-twisting to secure enough votes from both parties to achieve passage.

Graham suggested only half the House GOP was likely to accept the bill.

Still, he argued Republicans could declare victory in the debate given the fact that no new tax increases will be included in the package.

“From the Republican Party’s point of view, I think we can declare victory in a limited fashion,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“This is the first time in my lifetime that I know of that we’re paying for future debt increases dollar for dollar, and that would not have happened without the 2010 election.”

Still, Graham said the proposed deal does not go far enough for many conservatives because the debt is still on track to grow by about $7 trillion over the next 10 years.

Tags Chuck Schumer Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell

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