McConnell vows GOP won’t help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer ‘tantrum’

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) warned President Biden on Friday that Republicans won’t help raise the debt ceiling later this year, and stated that a recent speech by Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) had “poisoned the well.”

“Last night, Republicans filled the leadership vacuum that has troubled the Senate since January. I write to inform you that I will not provide such assistance again if your all-Democrat government drifts into another avoidable crisis,” McConnell wrote in the letter to Biden. 
The letter comes after 11 Republicans helped advance a short-term debt ceiling extension Thursday night, after a weeks-long standoff where McConnell and his conference said that Democrats would have to raise the debt ceiling on their own through a budget process known as reconciliation.
But on Wednesday McConnell backtracked, offering to let Democrats pass a short-term extension that is expected to last into early December.
Republicans say the move helps take pressure off of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to change the legislative filibuster and pokes a hole in Democrats’ argument that they don’t have enough time to raise the debt ceiling on their own. 
McConnell’s letter is a warning to Democrats, but also gives an early signal to his own members that he won’t give Democrats the same offramp in December. The decision by McConnell this week to open the door to a short-term debt extension earned him an unusually intense level of criticism from the Senate GOP caucus, including behind-the-scenes breaks with members of his own leadership team.
It also set off an hours-long, down-to-the-wire effort to lock down the 10 GOP votes that would be needed to help advance the debt ceiling extension, after conservatives including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) insisted on it needing to overcome the 60-vote procedural hurdle.  
Republicans were further frustrated on Thursday night by Schumer, who railed against them right after 11 of them voted to advance the debt ceiling bill. 
Schumer blasted the GOP debt ceiling strategy, accusing them of playing a “dangerous and risky partisan game” and saying Democrats were able to “pull our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”
The move angered several GOP senators as well as Manchin. Manchin and GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and GOP Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) were among the senators who spoke to Schumer after the speech, with Thune telling reporters that “I let him have it.” 
McConnell appeared to reference Manchin, who could be seen briefly with his hands over his face during Schumer’s speech. 
“Last night, in a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded in a rant that was so partisan, angry, and corrosive that even Democratic Senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him. This tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer,” McConnell wrote. 
McConnell warned that Schumer’s “childish behavior” had “alienated” GOP senators who helped advance the short-term debt increase and “poisoned the well even further.” They are likely the same GOP senators Schumer would need to lean on to raise the debt ceiling outside of reconciliation later this year. 
“I am writing to make it clear that in light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” he added. 
Tags Biden infrastructure budget reconciliation Charles Schumer debt ceiling human infrastructure infrastructure deal Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Thune Kyrsten Sinema Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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