To accomplish his plan, Republicans will first need to cooperate under the rules of the Senate. And it’s unclear if the necessary 10 GOP senators will do just that.
“The country is never going to default,” McConnell said confidently at a Wall Street Journal event Monday night. “We frequently have drama associated with this decision. But I can assure you the country will never default.”
So he and Schumer are privately floating creating a new process that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised by just 51 votes in the Senate — with just Democratic votes — and only in this specific instance. But to create that new Senate process, a law needs to be enacted first, meaning there would need to be 60 votes to break a likely GOP filibuster in order to advance legislation creating the process.
Democrats are eying three different options in the House: One would be to include a debt ceiling measure in the underlying defense bill; another would be to pass the Senate process bill separately from the defense bill; and a third would be for the House to approve a rule that would allow the new process to be added to the defense bill once it passes the House chamber and before Senate consideration.
Each of those options would require 60 votes in the Senate to advance before the new fast-track process could become law.
But Republicans were lining up in opposition to tying any debt ceiling measure to the defense bill.
“I think it confuses the message,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of McConnell’s leadership team, told CNN. “So if I vote for the NDAA, people are gonna say I voted to raise the debt limit? I’m not for that.”
To get the defense bill out of the House, GOP support is likely to be necessary since Democrats can only afford to lose three votes with their narrow majority and a…