Senate GOP leader McConnell to House-Take This Payroll Tax Deal
December 22, 2011

In a blow to House Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on the House to pass a two-month extension of the payroll tax bill, with a push to use the extra time to negotiate a full year extension. McConnell is also requesting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appoint conferees to negotiate a longer-term bill. "The House should pass an extension that locks in the thousands of Keystone XL pipeline jobs, prevents any disruption in the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions, and allows Congress to work on a solution for the longer extensions," McConnell said in a Thursday statement.

Debt Deal heads to the Senate, But the Winners & Losers List Is Already In
August 2, 2011

The contentious debt ceiling extension and budget cut package will be voted on by the US Senate today. It is expected to be approved by the 11:59 pm deadline.

‘Politico’ opines on who the winners and losers may be in the struggle.

Mitch McConnell:

The Senate minority leader, always as cool as freezer burn, more or less cut the deal with the vice president, proving again that he’s the most important player in the Capitol. Default, which could have upset his chances of becoming the majority leader in 2013, appears to be off the table. The president will still have to ask for new borrowing authority — putting the responsibility in his hands — even if he’s assured of getting it. The deal promises to isolate the troublemakers in McConnell’s caucus, and there’s no visible pain for him. The Kentucky Republican did a good job of making sure shared sacrifice is shared among the other parties at the table.

GOP moderates:

It’s a rare day when you can say that Republican moderates scored a victory. But this deal is about controlling government — not drowning it in a bathtub or forcing its implosion through a default on its debts — and it encourages future deal making. It’s sell-able back home. Caveat: If conservatives rise up against it, moderates have to start worrying about whether they can support it.

2012 Senate Democrats:

They’ve been looking for a spending-cut-tilted bipartisan compromise they can get behind that doesn’t completely screw the White House. They got it. Now, after months of soldiering on without a plan from Senate Democratic leaders, they can be for something. Now, they’ll have the cover of a bipartisan Senate vote and plenty of GOP stalwarts to point to as brothers and sisters in arms when they defend the plan on the campaign trail.

Budget geeks:

The cottage industry of budget analysis will have plenty of work to do this fall and winter.


The left/Reid/Pelosi:

The best way to tell who lost is to listen to who is screaming the loudest. That award definitely goes to congressional liberals. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi may have signed on, but there’s little doubt they were under duress from the White House. They’ll spend the hours ahead of the vote trying to help usher through a bill that enrages some fellow liberals and deflates others.

The debt-limit deniers:

In the end, there was a difference between being conservative and being out there. No one would question McConnell’s conservative credentials — and no one should question Boehner’s — but they both wanted to make sure the Aug. 2 deadline didn’t pass without a deal. The folks who wanted to test the nation’s post-deadline creditworthiness or the degree to which markets would forgive irresponsibility probably won’t get their chance now. They were pushed to the sideline not only by their own leaders but by fellow conservatives who thought better of testing fate.

The other 534 members of Congress:

The process is so broken that only Biden and McConnell can negotiate the really big deals anymore — and only with each other. The days of small clusters of lawmakers gathering in Capitol backrooms to write legislation that has barely seen the light of day before it hits the floor are over. Now, it’s just a series of phone calls between two old colleagues that determine the nation’s direction. Another dozen will jump in the action for the deficit-reduction super committee, reducing the universe of relatively irrelevant lawmakers to just 523.


President Barack Obama:

Will he look like a hero for forging bipartisan compromise, or will he look compromised for giving up too much on Democratic priorities? Perhaps a bit of both. But still, it’s just a debt-limit increase, so he avoids becoming the first president to preside over default. There’s no constituency for it, not like health care or repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Who’s excited about increasing the debt limit? Time — and the success or failure of the budget-control mechanism — will tell whether Obama wins or loses. But it seems like he’s in a better position today than he was on Friday and a much worse position than he was in January.

Speaker John Boehner:

Republicans are praising him for his negotiating ability and the final product — at least for now. He can’t make House Republicans do everything he wants, but they seem to appreciate the way he approaches the job. Boehner effectively used the leverage of the debt limit to force Democrats into spending cuts they never would have otherwise agreed to. If there are naysayers, they kept their powder dry on last night’s GOP conference call. On those scores, he wins. But if the deal blows up, he can’t deliver most of his conference or Obama ends up using the episode to help himself win reelection, Boehner’s early positive returns will have to be re-examined.

Blunt Says Says Debt Ceiling Deal May take a Plan ‘Z’
July 14, 2011

Put Missouri Senator Roy Blunt in the ‘No Way’ column in the debt ceiling talks.
In an interview with KMBC TV, Blunt not only does not support the White House plan to raise the debt ceiling, he doesn’t like Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s alternative.
McConnell’s plan is to to permit the President to raise the debt ceiling on his own and take all the political that would come with it. “Mitch’s plan would not be my plan ‘B'”, said Blunt.
“It may be plan ‘Z’. And in the end plan ‘Z’ maybe the only plan left”.
Blunt has been insisting for weeks he would only vote to raise the debt ceiling if three conditions are met.
He wants the White House to agree to spending cuts, spending caps and a balanced budget.
Short of that, Blunt says, “If the President can get the votes, more power to him. But he’ll do it without my vote.”