The Senate passed a temporary debt ceiling increase Thursday night by a vote of 50 to 48, after eleven Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined with Democrats to overcome a filibuster. No Republicans voted for the actual increase.
Joining McConnell were Senate Minority Whip John Thune, Sens. John Cornyn, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Richard Shelby, Rob Portman, John Barrasso, Shelley Moore Capito, Roy Blunt, and Mike Rounds. A number of other Republicans senators were highly critical of the decision, to include Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz — more on that later.
For their efforts, the eleven Republicans were treated to a torrid rant from the floor of the chamber by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., with his partisan sniping drawing a dramatic show of frustration from a member of his own caucus, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who was seen burying his head into his hands. Manchin would eventually rise and walk away while Schumer continued to rail.
“In a few moments, the Senate will pass an extension of the debt limit, avoiding a first-ever Republican-manufactured default on the national debt,” Schumer said. “…Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game and I’m glad their brinksmanship did not work.”
He continued to go off on the GOP while calling for a long-term solution to address the debt limit, even as he said Democrats are “ready to work with them.”
(Video: The Hill)
“Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted that they want a solution to the debt ceiling but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn out, convoluted and risky reconciliation process,” the majority leader said. “That was simply unacceptable to my caucus. And yesterday, Senate Republicans finally realized their obstruction was not going to work. I thank, very much thank my Democratic colleagues for showing our unity in solving this Republican manufactured crisis.”
It was during the latter remarks that a frustrated Manchin is seen putting his head into his hands.
He would later comment on Schumer’s speech while talking to reporters, saying: “Civility is gone.”
“I didn’t think it was appropriate at this time,” the moderate Democrat said. “We have to de-weaponize. You can’t be playing politics. None of us can — on both sides. Both sides have been very guilty of this.”
Manchin tells us he didn’t like Schumer’s speech after the vote to break a filibuster on the debt ceiling. “I didn’t think it was appropriate at this time,” he said, arguing that “we need to de-weaponize” and stop “playing politics … That was not a way to take (frustration) out” pic.twitter.com/TsGDsMNAqK
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2021
Manchin would also say, “I’m sure that Chuck’s frustration was built up, but that’s not the way to take it out. We just disagree. I’d have done it differently.”
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., reportedly approached Schumer after the partisan speech to express his displeasure. “His speech was totally out of line. I mean, he crossed lines and it was inappropriate and tone-deaf and I told him that.”
Graham and Cruz set their sights on McConnell ahead of the evening’s proceedings, appearing on Sean Hannity’s radio show earlier in the day to voice their frustrations about raising the debt ceiling, with Graham saying, “We folded like a cheap suit here in the 11th hour.”
“I don’t want any Republican fingerprints on raising the debt limit,” the senator from South Carolina said. “The road to socialism goes through the debt.”
His colleague from Texas said the move was a “mistake, calling it a “lousy deal” that was resulting in Schumer “crowing.”
“Our leadership got cold feet, they got weak-kneed because they were afraid that Manchin and Sinema would agree to nuke the filibuster, which is what has been threatened over and over and over again,” he told Hannity, adding, “Because yesterday Republican leadership blinked and gave in, we’ve now divided Republicans and created a mess and handed Schumer a victory.”
The media was quick to report on their dissatisfaction, as seen here:
Sen. Ted Cruz says McConnell’s strategy to offer Dems a short-term debt ceiling deal was a “serious mistake.”
Said “of course” he views it as McConnell folding, & said “yes” he was surprised by it.
Thinks “Democratic threats to destroy the filibuster caused him to give in.”
— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) October 7, 2021
Lindsey Graham bashes McConnell plans on debt ceiling — as GOP leaders struggle to get 10 votes to break a filibuster. “Why the hell would I make it easier for them to raise the debt ceiling through regular order? We had a strategy and we abandoned it.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 7, 2021
As for Hannity, he opened his Fox News program by going off on McConnell, saying the GOP leader’s words are “worthless” and calling for new leadership.
“Mitch McConnell, where is your backbone? Where are your principles? Moments ago, Mitch McConnell and ten other weak Republican senators gave their Democratic colleagues a very generous gift — when they’ve been telling us for two months they would not give them. And that is a big new extension of the debt ceiling. Everybody in this country is going to pay the price.”
(Video: Fox News)
The Fox News host said Republicans were initially united while Democrats, who could have raised the debt ceiling on their own through reconciliation, were panicking because they could not get their caucus to come to terms because of the radical left elements.
“The radical socialist Democrats and their slightly less radical socialist colleagues, they couldn’t come to terms. At stake trillions and trillions of dollars, Green New Deal socialist spending, and massive new tax hikes, record tax hikes, record spending, record regulation, and all they are trying to do now is ram this through in the middle of the night along with a debt ceiling,” Hannity said. “Because Democrats couldn’t come to terms, they were threatening to blow up the legislative filibuster. That’s right, we will go to the nuclear option. Instead of forcing the Democrats’ hand as they said they would, instead of calling their bluff as they said they would, Mitch McConnell completely caved to their threats and he did it at the last minute.”
“Thanks to him and other weak Republicans in the U.S. Senate, Democrats,” Hannity added, “well, they have months to work out a solution and get their $3.5 trillion Build Back Better, New Green Deal socialist spending bill through Congress.”
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