The battle on Capitol Hill over raising the debt limit is over — at least for now.
Thanks to a move by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a handful of other Republicans in the upper chamber, the Senate passed a measure Thursday to increase the federal debt ceiling for roughly two months, averting what would have been America’s first-ever debt default.
According to the Daily Mail, 11 Republicans, including McConnell, sided with Democrats in a 61–38 vote Thursday evening to end debate on the proposition.
The GOP leader had reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) earlier in the week.
“Play the hand”
Others in the GOP to back the move to end debate included Sens. John Cornyn (TX), Lisa Murkowski (AK), John Thune (SD), Susan Collins (ME), John Barrasso (WY), Rob Portman (OH), Roy Blunt, (MO), Richard Shelby (LA), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), and Mike Rounds (SD), according to the Daily Mail.
After that, a final vote was held on whether to raise the debt limit by $480 billion, which would keep America going until early December. It came down along party lines, with 50 senators voting in favor of the measure, and 48 voting against.
Beginning Wednesday night, when McConnell first reached an agreement with Schumer, Republicans began voicing their displeasure with the minority leader’s move. Chief among them was former President Donald Trump.
“Looks like Mitch McConnell is folding to the Democrats, again,” Trump said in a statement. “He’s got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it’s time to play the hand. Don’t let them destroy our Country!”
“Just a mistake”
Similarly, Sen. Linsey Graham (R-SC) accused McConnell of making a mistake.
“I think this is just a mistake,” Graham said, according to Fox Business. “I don’t understand why here at the very end we did this fold, because what you’re gonna do is you’re going to embolden his folks.
“And I’m not going to live under the threat of the filibuster being changed every time we have a fight. I didn’t do that when we were in charge,” the senator added, referring to Democrat threats to change the rules if McConnell didn’t cave. “If they want to change the filibuster, change it.”
Following the vote, Schumer more or less rubbed the Senate Republicans’ noses in it. “Republicans played a risky and partisan game,” he said, as the Daily Mail reported, “and I am glad their brinkmanship didn’t work.”