Senate Republicans, including McConnell, say debt limit fight is between McCarthy and Biden

Senate Republicans said Tuesday they’re taking their cues on the debt limit from the House of Representatives ahead of next week’s meeting between President Biden and the four top congressional leaders. Biden on Monday invited Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries to the White House May 9. It came just after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the government will need to borrow money again by June 1 or fall short of its obligations. Ahead of that sit-down, Senate Republicans have made clear it’s up to McCarthy and Biden to hash out a deal. “We have all been led to believe that this will be a conversation between the speaker and the president of the United States,” Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., told reporters Tuesday. He explained that it would be impractical for McConnell to lead on negotiations when McCarthy’s chamber, where he presides over a thin majority, has a broader coalition of Republicans to bring to the table. HOUSE PASSES MCCARTHY’S DEBT CEILING BILL BY TWO VOTES; FOUR REPUBLICANS VOTE AGAINST “I think that’s the appropriate place for the conversation to occur right now,” Young said. “Otherwise, you’ve got the Senate Minority Leader trying to thread a needle in and figure out how to get the support of Main Street Republicans and Freedom Caucus Republicans, and he’s in another chamber. It’s hard for me to see how that’s a recipe for success.” In addition to a narrower coalition of Republicans, McConnell’s influence is also limited by the GOP’s role as the minority party in the Senate. SCHUMER REJECTS HOUSE DEBT CEILING BILL, PLANS HEARINGS TO ‘EXPOSE’ GOP’S ‘RECKLESS LEGISLATION’ House Republicans narrowly passed a bill last week raising the debt limit while also enacting deep cuts that are projected to slash discretionary spending levels by roughly $150 billion from fiscal year 2023 to 2024.  But in the White House and the Democratically-held Senate, Biden and Schumer have insisted they will not pair spending cut talks with raising the debt ceiling, insisting on a “clean” increase in the borrowing limit. McConnell ended speculation on what kind of role he plans to play in the seemingly uphill negotiations. He told reporters during his weekly post-GOP lunch press conference, “There is no solution in the Senate.” While he accepted Biden’s invitation for the May 9 meeting, McConnell said, “It should be clear to the administration that the Senate isn’t a relevant player this time.” His conference is following suit. Hardly any GOP senators gave direct answers to questions about what specific spending cut measures in the House bill they support. REPUBLICANS HAVE THE UPPER HAND OVER DEMS IN DEBT CEILING NEGOTIATIONS, BUDGET EXPERT SAYS “It’s going to be a negotiation between the White House and the speaker. And if they can come up with something, then the Senate can step in. But until such a time as you can get an agreement between those two parties, there’s no reason for the Senate to get in and muddy the waters,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told Fox News Digital.  “We’re not going to muddy the waters by trying to tell them what to come up with. All we know is that we do not want to default on our debt.” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told reporters when asked for his thoughts on the bill, “However this thing looks, if it’s something that Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden end up agreeing on, obviously, it’s going to be something different than what they have. It’s probably going … to have some of the right things. “I’m not foolish enough to think I’m going to get everything I want, as you know. So, I just wish them well, but right now the ball is in their court.” CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he does not “mind” that all four congressional leaders are going to the White House but that “eventually” Biden and McCarthy “need to settle it.” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-S.C., said McConnell had a “secondary role” in the negotiations.  “The Republicans have control of the House. They’re … rightfully looking to McCarthy and Biden, and to a certain extent Schumer, to figure it out,” Tillis said.
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