Opposition to McConnell fallback plan grows among Republican senators

Opposition to McConnell fallback plan grows among Republican senators

A growing number of Senate conservatives are voicing their opposition to a contingency plan under negotiation by Senate leaders to avoid a national default after Aug. 2.
 
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Fla.), a rising conservative star in Congress, on Sunday rejected the fallback plan unveiled by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (Ky.) Tuesday.
 

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Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.), one of the Senate’s most outspoken advocates for deficit reduction, also aired his misgivings over the McConnell plan.
 
Rubio said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he would not vote for the proposal as he currently understands it.
 
“The way the deal is currently structured right now … it gives the president the ability to raise the debt limit, but as I’ve said already on the program, the debt limit’s not really the problem here. The problem is the debt,” Rubio said.
 
Citing a report by Standard and Poor’s, Rubio warned the nation’s credit rating would be in danger if Congress does not take significant steps to reduce the deficit. He said the McConnell plan, which is under negotiation with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info Poll: 47 percent back limits on Senate filibuster MORE (D-Nev.), would not safeguard the nation’s credit rating.
 
“I don’t believe this plan, as it’s been outlined to me, is a credible solution to our debt problem,” Rubio said.
 
Coburn said he is unlikely to support the McConnell-Reid plan but has not made a final decision.
 
“I am only going to support something that actually solves the problem, and if we don't solve the problem, and not the political problem ... I am not going to support it,” he said on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning.
 
Coburn said McConnell’s plan ignores the nation's fiscal crisis for the sake of political expediency. Coburn, who doesn’t plan to run for reelection, says he doesn’t care about politics anymore.
 
“I think the McConnell plan is more of Washington not taking responsibility, it is a great political plan, it takes the pressure off all of the politicians, but allows us to pass a debt limit without making the hard choices that this country has to make,” he said.
 
Coburn plans to unveil a $9 trillion deficit-reduction plan, running several hundred pages, on Monday.
 
He said he intends the plan to be a menu of policy options for lawmakers to pick from to reduce the deficit.
 
Rubio and Coburn join Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill Antitrust enforcers in turf war over Big Tech Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE (R-Utah), members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, as critics of McConnell’s contingency plan. Rubio and Coburn are not members of that caucus, although both are popular among Tea Party voters.
 
DeMint last week called the plan an abdication of responsibility for Republicans.
 
“It basically says you can raise the debt limit, but we don’t have to vote for it,” he said on the Scott Hennen radio show. “It’s like leaving the jail door open and looking the other way, then saying it’s not our fault.”
 
McConnell has proposed legislation that would authorize President Obama to increase the debt limit by $2.5 trillion in three tranches. Congress could block the action only by passing a resolution of disapproval but the president could veto such a measure and it would require two-thirds of both chambers to override him.
 
Senate Republican Whip John Kyl (Ariz.) defended the plan on ABC’s “This Week” as potentially necessary to avoid a national default.

He said Republicans would not agree to a deficit-reduction deal that raises tax revenue by ending a variety of tax breaks, something Obama has demanded.
 
“If there's no other way to reach some kind of savings agreement, then at the end of the day, Republican leaders have made it clear that we will not be the ones who put the government into default,” Kyl said.

The political rationale for the McConnell plan is that it would put the responsibility of raising the debt ceiling on the White House and spare Republicans the onus of voting to increase borrowing authority.
 
Lee, however, said last week that voters would still likely blame Republicans for giving Obama nearly unilateral authority to raise the debt limit.
 
“The public would justifiably, correctly understand us as voting to support [raising the debt limit] and would not be thrown off the scent of our support for that simply by saying we weren’t voting to do it,” he told reporters.
 
Conservative Republican Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRepublicans wary of US action on Iran EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Rand Paul: Almost every mass shooter 'is sending off signals' MORE (Ky.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRepublicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (Wis.) are also expected to oppose the contingency plan.