Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is “playing games with a loaded weapon” on pushback over raising the debt ceiling, but will “come to his senses,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Sunday.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Durbin blasted McConnell for suggesting a filibuster be applied to the issue.
“The Republican leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell is playing games with a loaded weapon here,” he said of a filibuster demand.
“It may be the first time in history that's happened and we have been warned by not only the Treasury Secretary [Janet Yellen] but by all the financiers across America this would be deadly to our economy. It would cost us 6 million jobs.”
Durbin said if McConnell “is not going to lead and follow, then get the hell out of the way.”
“We'll get this done and in a responsible way and face this as soon as we return next week,” he vowed.
“To say the Democrats are in control of the Senate is to ignore it's a 50-50 vote and we need 60 votes,” Durbin said. “I think he'll come to his senses. I hope he will if he'll listen to the people back home and around this nation who warn him of the dire consequences of his strategy.”
According to Durbin, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., warned McConnell about the consequences of his defiant stance on the debt ceiling.
“Schumer said to him, you don't want your fingerprints on the debt ceiling but you voted for all the spending bills that created this extension?” Durbin said. “Then step out of the way. We'll accept that responsibility. The future of our economy is at stake here and if he thinks he's going to score political points by defaults on America's debt for the first time in history he is wrong.”
Durbin also expressed confidence that on passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a larger social programs bill “concessions will be made.”
“Thank goodness we have other players committed with the president arriving in the House last week,” Durbin said. “Historic. Shows he wasn't going to stand by the side line and issue tweets. He … traveled to Capitol Hill and [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.]. Never underestimate Nancy Pelosi. As I saw her deliver the Affordable Care Act, I know the power she has when she gets to work.”
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