Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that only negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden can deliver resolution on the fight over the debt ceiling, and indicated that the Senate would accept any agreement that Republicans will reach the House and the White House.
McConnell said the Democrats’ slim majority in the Senate makes it highly unlikely that the Senate could pass any resolution to the debt ceiling that the GOP-led House could pass. For that reason, he said it is up to McCarthy and Biden to find a way forward.
“I can’t imagine that any kind of debt ceiling measure that could pass in the Senate would also pass in the House,” McConnell told reporters. “In this current situation, the debt ceiling fix, if there is one… will have to come out of the House.”
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“So I think it’s completely reasonable for the new speaker and his team to put a spending cut on the table,” he said. “I wish him the best of luck as he talks to the president. That’s where the solution lies.”
McConnell’s prediction reflects the reality of a 51-49 Senate that needs 60 votes to pass legislation. Even if nine Senate Republicans were to join Senate Democrats in approving a debt ceiling hike, that deal would go nowhere in the House, where Republicans are demanding significant spending cuts before agreeing to the debt ceiling. raise.
Likewise, Senate Democrats are unlikely to break ranks and support a Senate Republican debt ceiling hike that calls for spending cuts.
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So far, House Republicans have asked President Biden to negotiate a deal that allows for a debt ceiling increase and cuts spending. But Biden and the White House have said they will not negotiate, and are warning that Republicans are threatening economic disaster by demanding a debt ceiling hike with conditions.
Some Democrats have warned that the GOP demands will lead to economic destruction. On Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., envisioned a worst-case scenario for a debt default as a result of GOP demands for spending cuts.
“Listen to what would happen if we default,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Interest rates will increase on mortgages, car loans, credit cards. Pensions, the money people have put aside, will lose billions. So will IRAs and 401(k)s in all likelihood. Home values will decrease because when mortgage interest rates rise, people are willing to pay less for houses.”
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Republicans have said they have no interest in letting the government default on what it owes, and both parties have previously worked to agree on new spending terms during a debt ceiling debate. The GOP also says the growing debt of $31.4 trillion is a potential threat to US security.
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“We have several months to reach a bipartisan agreement, which Congress has succeeded in many times in past debt ceiling negotiations,” House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, told Fox News. “While defaulting on our debt is an unrealistic outcome, bankrupting the country and our children’s future is a truly irreparable situation.”