Republican and Democratic leaders both tried to claim political victory after ending a weekslong debt ceiling standoff in the Senate, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s attack on the GOP Thursday night left a key centrist in his party angry enough to walk off the Senate floor.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, buried his head in his hands while Schumer delivered a broadside against Republicans shortly after 11 GOP lawmakers helped Democrats pass a critical extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority.
Manchin walked off the floor during the speech, telling reporters as he left the Capitol, “Civility is gone.”
Schumer’s speech was nothing new. Party leaders often fight for the microphone to declare victory after spending standoffs.
Republicans, in fact, took their own victory lap earlier in the day, claiming on the Senate floor that Democrats were forced to follow the GOP plan of extending the debt limit for only three months instead of a much longer extension lasting until December 2022.
But Schumer’s attack took aim at a group of GOP senators most likely to cooperate on bipartisan deals, which are difficult to accomplish in Congress these days.
“Senate Republicans finally recognized that their obstruction was not going to work,” Schumer declared in a speech following a vote to extend borrowing authority to the Treasury Department until Dec. 3. “I thank, very much thank, my Democratic colleagues for showing our unity in solving this Republican-manufactured crisis. Despite immense opposition from Leader [Mitch] McConnell and members of his conference, our caucus held together, and we have pulled our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”
Manchin, after leaving the Senate chamber, said Schumer’s speech was inappropriate. “We have to de-weaponize,” he said. “You can’t be playing politics. Both sides have been guilty of this.”
Manchin has been the leading advocate for working out bipartisan Senate deals and has fought efforts to get rid of the filibuster, which would give the Democrats the power to pass any legislation they want with 50 votes instead of the usual 60, which requires GOP support.
Manchin instead wants Democrats to find a way to win at least 10 GOP votes to pass legislation.
Schumer’s speech doesn’t help bridge the political divide, Manchin and other lawmakers said Thursday.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, along with fellow GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, approached Schumer after the speech and told him his remarks were out of line.
The three Republicans were among the 11 GOP lawmakers who voted to pave the way for extending the debt ceiling.
Earlier on Thursday, McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, gave a victory speech of sorts ahead of the vote, repeating the GOP position that Democrats have enough time to pass a long-term extension of the debt limit without needing a single Republican vote.
McConnell said in his floor speech that Democrats accepted his offer to avert a debt ceiling crisis that Schumer caused by refusing to act unilaterally.
“The Senate is moving toward the plan I laid out yesterday to spare the American people a manufactured crisis,” McConnell said. “The majority didn’t have a plan to prevent default, so we stepped forward.”
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Original Author: Susan Ferrechio
Original Location: ‘Civility is gone’: Manchin slams Schumer broadside against GOP