Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said on Sunday that he has a large enough majority to block a “clean” debt limit raise by the Democrats.
During an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Lee informed presenter Maria Bartiromo that he would be one of the 45 Republicans to vote against a measure that lifts the debt limit without significant expenditure cuts. That figure, he said, is more than sufficient to prevent Democrats from passing a “clean” debt limit measure due to the Senate filibuster, and Lee is certain that the conference will maintain its position.
Lee emphasized the importance of McCarthy arriving in a position of strength when he meets with the White House in his capacity as Speaker of the House. To that end, “we have a solid bloc of Republicans, that is sufficient to block any kind of so-called ‘clean’ debt ceiling measure from moving forward, any measure that raises the debt limit lacking significant spending as well as budgetary reforms. We also have the Republican conference in the Senate who are supporting what GOP lawmakers in the House enacted.”
According to Lee, 43 Republicans pledged their opposition to a clean debt limit measure in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and two more made similar pledges but did not sign the letter. There are a total of 45 Republicans who will vote against wrapping up the discussion on a clean debt limit measure.
Lee said that the conference will stick together in opposition to raising the debt ceiling. “We have 43 Republican Senators who have signed this letter promising to do exactly what I just described, plus two more who, for tactical reasons, chose not to sign but have indicated that they will support us in the votes, and a few more who might still decide to join us,” said Lee. “That should be more than enough. We would be alright even if we lost one or two here and there, and I don’t believe we will lose any of them.”
In a letter to Schumer on Saturday, Lee was the leader of a group of 43 Senate Republicans who opposed a clean debt limit raise.
The Senators stated that “as a starting point for discussions on the debt limit, the Senate GOP conference is unified alongside the House GOP conference in favor of reductions in spending and structural budgetary reform.”
“Unsustainable budgetary policies have put our economy in free decline. Fiscal measures are necessary to stop this tendency. Recent Treasury predictions have also emphasized how urgent it is to raise the debt limit. Coming to the table with their recommendations was a responsible first move on the part of the House. The president must immediately take the same action. We won’t vote for cloture on any legislation that lifts the debt limit without significant spending and budgetary changes as a result.”