Top Republican says 10 GOP senators will help advance debt hike

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on Thursday that 10 GOP senators will ultimately help advance a short-term debt hike, but predicted a painful process amid private haggling.

“In the end we’ll be there, but it’s going to be a painful birthing process,” Thune said, asked about Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) ability to 10 GOP votes to advance the debt ceiling hike.

GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) are requiring that the debt hike legislation, which would increase the nation’s borrowing limit, overcome a filibuster, meaning it will require 60 votes to end debate on the bill.

To make that happen, 10 Senate Republicans will need to vote to end debate, even though they could then oppose final passage of the bill since that vote only requires a simple majority.

Ten GOP senators haven’t yet publicly said that they will vote to end debate on the debt hike. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have all indicated that they will help advance the debt hike over the procedural huddle.

The deal between McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has sparked grumbling from GOP senators who argue that McConnell caved after Republicans had vowed for weeks that they wouldn’t help Democrats raise the debt ceiling. Republicans has previously warned that they viewed helping end debate on the bill and breaking a filibuster as enabling the raising of the debt ceiling.

The Senate is going to hold a nomination vote on Thursday afternoon, where leadership is hoping to get senators to sign off on an agreement to pass the debt ceiling hike as soon as Thursday.

“We’re trying to get a time agreement,” Thune said, adding that the “plan” would be for the debt hike to pass on Thursday.

But Thune indicated that they were still negotiating with members of their caucus.

“This is not an easy one to whip,” he said. “Our guys hate debt limit votes.”

Updated 3:46 p.m.

Tags Chuck Schumer John Thune Lisa Murkowski Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Rand Paul Richard Shelby Shelley Moore Capito Ted Cruz

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