Politico reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is in negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden on a debt-ceiling deal. McConnell’s communications director Don Stewart e-mailed me to deny the story. “This headline and assertion about Sen. McConnell is inaccurate. While they do talk from time to time, they are not in talks. They’re not negotiating. They’re not working on a new bill or any new amendment. Sen. McConnell has been crystal clear that he supports the speaker’s bill.”
Since this story obviously didn’t come from McConnell’s office one can infer that the White House, once again, or someone acting on its behalf is desperately trying to interject itself into the process. Plainly we have not been “stalemated,” as the president claimed on Monday night. The Congress, specifically the House, has been doing its job.
As McConnell said on Wednesday, “The fact is, Republicans have offered the only proposal at this point that attempts to get at the root of the problem — and which actually has a chance of getting to the president’s desk. That’s why we’ll continue to press for the legislation Speaker Boehner has proposed.”
It is July 28; the Senate hasn’t voted on any debt-ceiling bill. When last we left things Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was trying to recalculate his bill after the Congressional Budget Office revealed there were less savings than promised. The White House has never sent a debt-ceiling bill to Congress and rejected a bipartisan attempt to resolve the issue last Sunday. It is folly to think there is any alternative but the Boehner bill for now. So all the White House can hope for is to claim credit. Now that’ll be some trick.