Are we looking at the birth of a “Compromise Caucus” among Senate Republicans? Democrats hope the willingness of Sen. John McCain and other Republicans to break with party leaders during last week’s filibuster fight bodes well for constructive negotiations to avert another debt-ceiling standoff and government shutdown crisis.
It is noteworthy that McCain has said that Americans will not put up with another round of debt-limit and government-shutdown “shenanigans” from Republicans.
In an interview with radio host Michael Medved, McCain said: “Some of my Republican colleagues are already saying we won’t raise the debt limit unless there’s repeal of Obamacare. I’d love to repeal Obamacare, but I promise you that’s not going to happen on the debt limit. So some would like to set up another one of these shut-down-the-government threats. And most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington.”
Asked if he would demand any concessions in exchange for a debt-limit increase, McCain said: “What I would like to see is serious negotiations to eliminate the sequester and progress on facing up to this deficit that is sooner or later going to harm our children and our grandchildren.”
This confirms that McCain — and perhaps a few more Republican senators — are heading for a collision with House Republicans in the coming battles on the debt limit and the budget. Democrats hope to win over enough Republicans to support a no-strings-attached debt-limit increase or at least have real negotiations to replace the sequester. McCain, of course, is a “defense hawk” who wants to protect the military from sequester cuts.
White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated Monday that the White House would not negotiate over the debt limit. Meanwhile, all signs are that House conservatives expect the GOP leadership to demand concessions for a debt-limit increase, even though Republican leaders have already conceded that an increase is necessary to avoid widespread damage to the U.S. economy. But Democrats are hoping that a sizable bloc of Republicans has had it with the GOP’s unremitting hostility to basic governing compromises.