McConnell, McCarthy Align on Debt Ceiling

Senator says he told Biden to reach a deal with speaker
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2023 5:55 PM CDT
McConnell: Biden Will Have to Make Debt Deal With Speaker
Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Kevin McCarthy speak to reporters outside the White House after a meeting with President Biden in May 2021.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has worked with President Biden before to avoid debt limit catastrophe, but he's yielding to the gentleman from California this time. McConnell told Politico he's informed the president he'll have to negotiate a solution with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. "In the end, the deal will be made between McCarthy and Biden," McConnell said. When congressional leaders meet with Biden at the White House on Tuesday, Sen. Joni Ernst said she doesn't expect McConnell to be all that involved. "He's like: 'I'm here to support McCarthy,'" she said.

If that alliance holds, Democrats who hope McConnell—who's split from McCarthy in the past—jumps in to cut a deal. They include Biden, who has called McConnell a "trusted partner" and said, about the infrastructure bill talks, "He's willing to find common ground." Republicans in both chambers are lining up behind the California speaker to strengthen his negotiating position, per USA Today. Democrats maintain there won't be a deal without McConnell's participation. "McConnell always says he’s not involved until he is," said Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen. (More debt ceiling stories.)

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