Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that he now opposes his own plan to avoid the kind of debt ceiling fiasco that nearly led the nation to default this month.
The idea is to let the president extend the debt limit to cover appropriations already approved by Congress, while allowing lawmakers an opportunity to register their dissent. Currently, members of Congress must vote to allow the government to borrow the money needed to fund the appropriations they’ve already approved.
Although McConnell devised the alternative scheme, he says he and other Republicans want nothing to do with it, and it was never his intention, he says, that the plan be used in this way.
McConnell took to the Senate floor Tuesday morning, before the Democrats held their news conference, to dispute their offering, saying it was never his intent to give the president permanent authority to use the mechanism for debt limit increases. The Kentucky Republican said he could not support a bill Democrats had pegged to his name.
“[Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,] wants to extend the debt ceiling permanently by going around Congress. Let me repeat that: the so-called ‘Schumer-Obama Plan’ is a plan to permanently hand the president a credit card without spending limits, and without lifting a finger to address the national debt,” McConnell said. “I reject that idea entirely.
“I believe that increases in the debt ceiling should be accompanied by reforms,” he continued. “That’s just what we did in 2011, when Congress raised the debt ceiling in return for enacting $2 trillion in bipartisan spending control — the spending control the president campaigned on endlessly.”