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Trump Endorses McConnell’s Hardball Debt Limit Tactics: ‘Republicans Have No Choice’

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at September 22, 2021


Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday voiced support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s tactic of refusing to help Democrats pass a temporary government funding bill that includes a measure to raise the debt ceiling, a rare instance in which the two Republican leaders have been in lockstep on strategy.

Key Facts

Trump said in a statement the debt ceiling is the “only powerful tool” Senate Republicans have in their negotiations with Democrats, adding that they “have no choice but to do what they have to do.”

McConnell and most Senate Republicans say they want Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own as part of their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, with Democrats pointing out the raise would cover debt incurred under the Trump administration.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a Trump critic often perceived as one of the more moderate members of his conference, told Forbes it would be “devastating” for the U.S. to default but expressed firm agreement with the GOP strategy of forcing Democrats to go it alone.

McConnell and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have proposed an alternative government funding bill to that effect: it would include spending on Afghan refugee resettlement and natural disaster aid but not the debt ceiling.

Top Democrats have not signaled any plans to decouple the debt ceiling from the funding bill and try to add it to their budget reconciliation bill – which can pass without GOP support – though Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) floated the idea to Politico.

Key Background

Trump and McConnell have been increasingly at odds over tactics and ideology since the former left office, in part over McConnell publicly holding Trump responsible for the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump threatened in July to support primary challenges against Republicans who voted for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which passed with McConnell’s support. He is also reportedly attempting to field a challenge to McConnell’s leadership.

Surprising Fact

After telling Forbes on Monday he was “probably going to vote for” the funding bill, making him one of the few Senate Republicans to even entertain the idea, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Wednesday he is “back in the undecided.” Kennedy said the $600 million in the bill to help Louisiana recover from storms over the summer is insufficient, calling for a minimum range of $1 billion to 1.5 billion. 


Trump, in his statement, also took aim at a pared-down election reform bill unveiled by Democrats last week, stating it will “be the end of our democracy,” and urging Republicans, “Don’t give up or concede.”


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