McConnell Tells Biden That Republicans Will Not Help Pass Further Debt Ceiling Increases

Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote to President Biden on Friday, telling him that he would not have Republicans help Democrats raise the federal debt limit in the future, leaving them to handle it independently.

McConnell wrote the letter following the vote he orchestrated on Thursday evening, including the support of ten Republicans in addition to himself to allow a vote on a debt-ceiling hike by a vote of 61-38. At least 60 votes were required to break the filibuster holding a final vote back from the Senate floor. 

The Senate then voted to extend the ceiling through the end of the year due to the compromise by McConnell proposing the temporary measure to keep the federal government open.

McConnell said in his letter that Republicans “filled the leadership vacuum” that has affected the Senate since the beginning of the Biden administration. He added that he would not help again if Democrats control heads into another debt crisis that can be avoided in advance. 

He went on to say that Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had three months to take care of the situation but wasted all of that time, failing to handle something that should take less than two weeks.

Schumer spoke out against Republicans on Thursday night, even after McConnell’s compromise. Schumer thanked fellow Democrats for displaying unity to take care of a “Republican-manufactured crisis.” He said Democrats “pulled our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”

In his Friday letter, McConnell said that even Democratic Senators were embarrassed by and for Schumer. He noted that Schumer’s “childish behavior” further alienates Republicans.

Before Thursday evening, McConnell and Senate Republicans pledged they would not support any measure for increasing the debt ceiling in protest of the massive spending bill proposed by Democrats. Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion social program spending bill has no support from Republicans and some opposition from moderate Democrats.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) voted as McConnell’s compromise to break the short-term debt ceiling fix filibuster. He later referred to Schumer’s speech as “classless” and said he would not cooperate further “in the future.”