You’d think that after 36+ years in the United States Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would understand that for Democrats there’s no such thing as
“bipartisanship” or institutional comity – the only thing that counts is winning and holding power.
So it shouldn’t have surprised McConnell that just after he led the Senate Republicans to allow Democrats to advance a shot-term measure to increase the debt limit the Senate’s Democrat Majority Leader, New York Senator Charles Schumer, went to the mic and unloaded on him and the Republicans.
"Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinkmanship did not work," Schumer said and it went downhill from there.
Schumer went on to say Democrats were able to “pull our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”
Schumer added. “For the good of America’s families, for the good of our economy, Republicans must recognize in the future that they should approach fixing the debt limit in a bipartisan way.”
Schumer earlier accused the GOP of rooting for fiscal disaster by refusing to back a long-term debt limit hike.
“By now, it’s clear that despite what they say, Republicans seem intent on seeing the U.S. miss out on its payments for the first time ever,” Schumer said last week. “They seem perfectly at ease telling the American people, including our active military, our Social Security recipients, and all those who rely on Medicare, that they are unequivocally the party of default. The Republicans are unequivocally the party of default, and some of them seem to be proud of it.”
Mitch should have seen that one coming a mile away, but as usual the Turtle was in his “never on offense, always on defense” reaction mode.
The next day, McConnell vowed that Republicans will not offer any more assistance to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. In a letter sent to President Biden, McConnell made clear he would be willing to allow the United States to default on its national debt rather than work with Democrats.
In the letter to Biden, reported by the Washington Post, McConnell took credit on behalf of Republicans for having “filled the leadership vacuum,” referring to the GOP senators who had helped advance Thursday’s measure procedurally. No Republican senators ultimately supported the final measure, which passed on a 50-to-48 vote.
McConnell said that Schumer’s speech had “poisoned the well even further” and indicated that, when the issue arises again in December, Democrats should not bank on any Republican help.
“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,” McConnell wrote. “This childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch.”
On Friday, McConnell told Biden that Democrats would need to raise the debt ceiling in December through the process of reconciliation, which would not require Republican votes.
“Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling through standalone reconciliation, and all the tools to do it. They cannot invent another crisis and ask for my help,” McConnell wrote, according to the Washington Post report.
Alleged moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was not exactly a fan of Schumer’s speech either. During Schumer’s remarks he could be seen reacting with dismay and placing his head in his hands.
“I didn’t think it was appropriate at this time,” Manchin told CNN’s Manu Raju late Thursday as he left the Capitol. “I just think that basically what we’ve got to do is find a pathway forward, to make sure that we de-weaponize. We have to de-weaponize.”
By now both Manchin and McConnell ought to know that weaponizing government by crisis is what Schumer does best, so they can expect a repeat at louder volume come December.
And we conservatives must hold McConnell (and the rest of the Senate GOP) to his word that they will not help Democrats raise the debt limit. Going into a crucial election year, Republicans should not get suckered into voting to raise the debt ceiling when Democrats can be made do it with their majority and also be made to own the political consequences. The toll-free Capitol Switchboard (1-866-220-0044), call today and tell your Senators to vote NO on raising the debt ceiling.
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