McConnell Makes It Clear—No Debt Ceiling Deal in Senate 'Without Substantive Spending' Cuts

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

We’re just days away from the much anticipated meeting among the four leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, and President Joe Biden at the White House over how to go about raising the debt ceiling. At one point earlier in the week, it appeared Biden had caved to Republican demands on a compromise that includes spending cuts, as we previously wrote, though that mirage quickly evaporated.


But all may not be sunshine and tulips for Biden and the Democrats going into next Tuesday’s meet-up. My colleague Joe Cunningham noticed a Washington Post piece that suggested much is still up in the air for the White House:

In a piece titled “White House leaves door open to deal that resolves debt ceiling crisis,” the paper notes that while the White House is attempting to make it clear that tying cuts to the debt ceiling is unacceptable, there is room to talk about it. […]

It is possible, the Post points out, that Biden and McCarthy “could agree to an informal or handshake deal on government spending that resolves the immediate debt limit challenge without finalizing a full budget deal.” But there’s no incentive for McCarthy to go with a handshake deal that risks his Speakership.

Now, it appears McCarthy will have someone else at the table, ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with him: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Ahead of next Tuesday’s meeting, McConnell has signaled there won’t be a debt ceiling deal on the Senate side—at least, not “without substantial spending and budget reforms”—with his co-signing a Senate GOP letter taking a firm stand on the issue.

The Hill:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signed onto a letter stating he and more than 40 members of the Senate GOP conference will not back “any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms,” according to sources.

The letter is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and would be McConnell’s clearest statement to date about what he is willing to support to avoid a national default next month when the federal government is projected to run out of money.


The letter, the brainchild of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), aims to “sustain a filibuster of a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, which is what Democrats are demanding,” the Hill reports. The letter reads, in part:

The Senate Republican conference is united behind the House Republican conference in support of spending cuts and structural budget reform as a starting point for negotiations on the debt ceiling.

As such, we will not be voting for cloture on any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms

Of course, there are some nervous squish congresscritters on our side, who have gone crying (the wording Axios uses is “privately panic[king]”) to the legacy media about how weak their spines are over this. But, they’ll do that over anything, as readers well know.

It gives me even more confidence this move by McConnell is the real deal, when I see the names of some of the other signers (you’ll recognize below the names of a few Republicans who have disappointed conservative in recent months):

The signatories include Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.), Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (Wyo.), Policy Committee Chairwoman Joni Ernst (Iowa), Conference Vice Chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines (Mont.).


We’ll keep you posted, as the debt ceiling debate that’s roiling Capitol Hill and all of Washington, D.C., will surely continue for several weeks longer.

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of



Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos