Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen turned down a request from Senate Republicans who asked last week for a briefing behind closed doors on the debt ceiling as it's set to expire at the end of the month, passing on an opportunity for the Biden administration to sell the GOP on raising the limit.
Now, Republicans are saying Democrats will have to go it alone.
Last week, The Hill reported that a group of Senate GOP members led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, sent a letter to Yellen, inviting the treasury secretary to speak privately to the entire Senate Republican Conference at the Senate GOP's Steering Committee lunch – away from the press and the fanfare that goes along with public hearings – to discuss the looming debt ceiling, along with inflation and other matters.
She said no to pleading her case for raising the limit, despite publicly calling on a divided Congress to do so.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Punchbowl News on Wednesday, "I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing."
"I can’t imagine a single Republican in this environment that we’re in now – this free-for-all for taxes and spending – to vote to raise the debt limit," he continued. "I think the answer is they need to put it in the reconciliation bill." Putting the measure in the reconciliation bill means Democrats can pass the bill with all 50 of their members voting for it.
In reaction to that, Lee – head of the GOP Steering Committee – tweeted, "@LeaderMcConnell is right—no raising the debt ceiling. Biden’s admin is refusing to even tell the Senate when the money runs out. We invited @SecYellen to brief us so she could talk and we could listen. She declined!"
Lee wasn't alone. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., tweeted, "Last week, @SecYellen went to Italy to speak FOR Congress, but this week she's too busy to speak WITH Congress & brief us on America’s finances. Doesn’t make sense. You can’t make promises about what Congress will do without speaking to us first. What is she trying to hide?"
Scott was apparently referring to Yellen's visit at the G20, where she continued the Biden administration's push for countries to collectively impose a 15% minimum corporate income tax on businesses worldwide despite Senate Republicans being against the plan. More than 130 nations have already signed on to the global initiative. When asked about needing a two-thirds majority in the Senate for such approval in the 50-50 upper chamber, Yellen explained that the administration "will be ready in the Spring of 2022 and we will try to determine at that point what's necessary for implementation."
The Treasury Department did not respond to FOX Business' request for comment on why Yellen refused to meet with the Senate GOP.