Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is attracting criticism from within his own party after conceding to a two-month debt ceiling increase, The Hill reports.
After initially speaking out against such an increase, McConnell ultimately voted along with Democrats and 10 other Republicans to approve a stopgap measure boosting the ceiling until December.
As a result, a number of GOP critics have gone on the record to denounce McConnell’s move.
“Can you believe that?”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has publicly disagreed with the GOP leader on previous occasions, addressed the latest issue in a speech from the Senate floor on Thursday.
“I believe Democratic Leader [Chuck] Schumer was on the verge of surrendering and then, unfortunately…Republicans blinked,” he said, according to The Hill. “I think that was a mistake.”
Former President Donald Trump even weighed in, expressing his disapproval during a rally in Iowa, telling the crowd: “To think we had 11 Republicans go along with an extension. Headed up by Mitch McConnell, can you believe that?”
Even a few of McConnell’s frequent allies, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), were not on board for his vote on the debt ceiling.
“Put his caucus in a tough position”
One Senate Republican aide speaking on the condition of anonymity complained: “I think this was a crisis entirely of McConnell’s making when he decided to announce the caucus’s position this summer. He created drama and thought it would go a lot differently than he expected and then he blinked.”
The aide also noted that McConnell “put his caucus in a tough position,” which belies his self-styled status as someone who protects Senate Republicans from tough votes.
In a letter to President Joe Biden earlier this month, McConnell warned that he would offer no further assistance when it comes to the debt limit, asserting that he would not “mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”
Should the Democratic majority encounter “another avoidable crisis,” he wrote, Senate Republicans “will not provide such assistance again.”
Despite his tough talk in the letter, McConnell had already capitulated on a short-term deal, which was enough to elicit a fierce backlash from some of the caucus members he apparently hung out to dry.