- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2021

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday warned President Biden that the GOP won’t help in “any future effort to mitigate consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” after agreeing Thursday to allow Democrats raise the nation’s debt limit.

“Republicans filled the leadership vacuum that has troubled the Senate since January,” wrote Mr. McConnell. “I will not provide such assistance again if your all-Democrat government drifts into another avoidable crisis.”

Mr. McConnell cited the “hysterics” of Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who delivered a harsh partisan rebuke of Republicans immediately after they helped him approve the debt measure. Mr. Schumer blamed Republicans for “obstruction” and said they were trying to push the nation over a cliff.

“In a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded in a rant that was so partisan, angry, and corrosive that even Democratic senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him,” Mr. McConnell told the president. “His tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer. This childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poison to the well even further.”

But even before Mr. Schumer’s floor speech, Republicans had made clear that they would not cooperate again with Democrats on raising the debt limit later this year. 

Late Thursday, 11 Senate Republicans voted in favor of a procedural step allowing a measure to raise the debt ceiling by $430 billion. The move gave Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, enough votes to avoid a Republican filibuster and avoid a government default until at least Dec. 3.

Mr. McConnell has come under heavy criticism from lawmakers in his own party, who said he caved to a Democratic threat to eliminate the filibuster. Former President Donald Trump has called for Republicans to replace Mr. McConnell as their leader.

“The Republican Senate needs new leadership,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

But Mr. McConnell said he was left with little choice.

“Whether through weakness or an intentional effort to bully his own members, Senator Schumer marched the nation to the doorstep of disaster,” Mr. McConnell said. “Embarrassingly, it got to the point where senators on both sides were pleading for leadership to fill the void to protect our citizens. I stepped up.”

The vote ended a long standoff between the two parties over raising the debt ceiling, bringing the U.S. to the brink of a mid-October default. Republicans had blocked a measure, tied to a bill to extend government funding to avoid a shutdown, that would have suspended the debt limit. 

Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, had said Democrats would have to raise the debt limit without Republican support as the Democrats push for trillions in new spending under President Biden. But he backed down after Democrats threatened to eliminate the filibuster temporarily to pass the measure.

“The Senate Democratic Leader had three months’ notice to handle one of his most basic governing duties,” Mr. McConnell said Friday in his letter. “Amazingly, even this proved to be asking too much.”

The GOP leader told Mr. Biden that Republicans are unlikely to “step up” again in the future.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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