McConnell says McCarthy should take the lead on negotiating the debt ceiling standoff : NPR

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the impending debt limit during a press conference on January 24.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the impending debt limit during a press conference on January 24.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said crafting a solution to avoid catastrophic defaults this summer should originate in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiating with the White House.

“I can’t imagine any debt ceiling clause passed by the Senate with 60 votes could actually pass this particular House,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “I think the ultimate solution to this particular episode lies between Speaker McCarthy and the president.”

The America hits debt threshold — now $31.4 trillion — last week plunged Washington into a familiar, high-stakes political battle with potentially devastating economic consequences.

The Treasury Department used “extraordinary measures” to cover the debt for several months, an initial grant that will be canceled in June. If Congress does not increase or suspend the debt limit by that time, the federal government will not be able to pay its obligations, such as Social Security and Medicare. It will also lead to an unprecedented default, the economic consequences of which will spread around the world.

How does the debt ceiling war affect me?

Historically, breaching the debt limit could be avoided by increasing the debt limit, which has already been done 78 times since 1960. Like Ron Elving of NPR report, the accumulation of debt and subsequent lifting of the debt limit has been carried out by both Republican and Democratic administrations. the ceiling is last raised $2.5 trillion in December 2021.

But this time, some House Republicans, who tightly control the House, want to tie the debt ceiling talks to the spending cuts. McConnell told reporters he thought it was “absolutely reasonable” for the House to “put spending cuts on the table”.

Democrats have pleaded guilty, arguing that House Republicans are flirting with default in an attempt to cash out budget cuts. Top Democratic leaders also noted that there were bipartisan votes to lift the debt ceiling while former President Donald Trump was in office.

Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told reporters Monday: “This is a staged and unnecessary crisis that will damage our economy and our jobs before we can. default”. “I think it really holds Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid hostage.”

McCarthy, who struck handshake deals on spending cuts for Republican supporters in his protracted fight for the right to speak, now faces a balancing act. difficulties: making good on spending cuts at all times while passing a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

“We have to change the way we’re wasting money in this country, and we’re going to make sure that happens,” McCarthy previously told reporters, adding: “We are. does not want to put any financial problems in his process. economy, and we won’t.”

Lawmakers call for negotiations with the White House

Many Senate Republicans say that now that Republicans control the House, the White House has a responsibility to begin negotiations with McCarthy.

“Ultimately, I think it’s going to have to be negotiated by the House and the White House,” Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn told reporters. When asked if he shares the same views as House Republicans, Cornyn replied: “I don’t know what page they’re on.”

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has also called for the White House to come to the negotiating table.

“I think you have to sit down and talk to people and find out if there’s any objection and find out where it is,” he told reporters on Monday. “We all know we’re going to pass the debt ceiling, we’re not going to let the country default.”

Manchin added: “We should sit down and realize we’re in a totally unsustainable debt – [but] you don’t have to scare or threaten anyone about how they will lose their benefits. Social Security and Medicare should be absolutely protected immediately. That’s completely out of the question, and we should start looking at all the different areas we have before continuing down this path.”

Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters the White House “needs to get involved” and said cutting any benefits for those currently retired or about to retire was the “thing” indisputable”. He added that the long-term debate about mandatory spending reform for Social Security and Medicare should be explored. He sponsored a bill with Manchin that he said could be part of that broader discussion.

Romney said it is important to work now to reach an agreement to resolve the debt limit because it is not an abstract issue; Concerns about the economic fallout could affect people with mortgages, car loans and retirees worried about the impact on Social Security payments.

“We can’t let people worry about whether they’re getting paid,” Romney told reporters.

When asked whether mandatory spending on the social safety net should be considered, South Dakota Senator John Thune, replied no. 2 Republican leader in the Senate, told reporters he doesn’t think the conversation will focus on those programs.

“I think the point is that we’re going to do anything to inform our spending in a way that makes those programs more sustainable for the future. And as [McConnell] pointed out, I think there’s always an opportunity when something like this comes up, to have a conversation that can sometimes lead to an outcome, which happened in 2011 with the Control Act. Budget Control.”

Thune also said he thinks any deal that can get through the House and get President Biden’s signature has the potential to garner the 60 votes needed to avoid opposition from Republicans.

The White House has said Biden wants to meet with McCarthy, but has not set a date.

NPR’s Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


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