Some Republicans unhappy with McConnell's debt ceiling deal: 'Complete capitulation'

Graham: McConnell's debt ceiling deal is 'just a mistake'

Some Republican lawmakers are unhappy with the debt ceiling deal that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell struck with Democrats to temporarily pull the U.S. government back from the brink of a catastrophic default.

A GOP Senate source familiar with the matter told FOX Business that there's some displeasure among Republicans over how the deal was rolled out, with members worried that it's not the best option or the best way to avert a debt crisis. There's also a concern about the narrative Democrats are pushing that McConnell caved by offering a last-minute olive branch.

"This is a complete capitulation," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News' Jason Donner on Thursday. "The argument made yesterday was, well, this may be more pressure than two Democratic senators can stand regarding changing the filibuster rules. That, to me, is not a very good reason." 

For months, McConnell and Republicans refused to budge from their insistence that Democrats act unilaterally to suspend or raise the debt ceiling through the budget reconciliation process, allowing them to bypass a 60-vote filibuster in the Senate. At the same time, Democrats refused to go it alone and were adamant there was not enough time to use reconciliation, with the U.S. careening toward its first-ever default as soon as Oct. 18. 


Instead, Democrats began plotting this week to go nuclear and modify the filibuster to break the debt-limit impasse – allowing the ceiling to be suspended with just 50 votes – driving McConnell to offer an alternate route to temporarily raise the ceiling through December. The Kentucky Republican has been unwavering in the need to preserve the Senate filibuster. 

"I think this is just a mistake," Graham said. "I don't understand why here at the very end we did this fold, because what you're gonna do is you're going to embolden his folks. And I'm not going to live under the threat of the filibuster being changed every time we have a fight. I didn't do that when we were in charge. If they want to change the filibuster, change it." 

Former President Donald Trump also slammed McConnell, saying in a statement the GOP leader had "folded to the Democrats, again." 

Top Senate Democrats and Republicans announced on Thursday they had reached an agreement to avert a default on the national debt. The deal will boost the legal debt cap by $480 billion, which the Treasury Department estimates would be enough to allow the government to continue borrowing through Dec. 3. 

The current limit is around $28 trillion as of Aug. 1.


"McConnell caved," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told reporters on Wednesday. "And now we're going to spend our time doing child care, health care and fighting climate change."

Still, the deal does nothing to resolve the broader stalemate between the two parties over the debt and likely sets up another showdown for the end of the year –  which coincides with the expiration of government funding. 

McConnell has also not dropped his demand that Democrats ultimately use reconciliation to raise the ceiling beyond December.

"The pathway our Democratic colleagues have accepted will spare the American people any near-term crisis while definitively resolving the majority's excuse that they lack the time to address the debt limit through the 304 reconciliation process," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "Now there will be no question, they will have plenty of time."


If the U.S. failed to raise or suspend the debt limit, it would eventually have to temporarily default on some of its obligations, which could have serious and negative economic implications. Interest rates would likely spike, and demand for Treasurys would drop; even the threat of default can cause borrowing costs to increase.

FOX Business' Hillary Vaughn and Fox News' Jason Donner contributed to this report