Here’s Why McConnell Blinked

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-KY) listens as Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) addresses reporters following a weekly Republican policy meeting at the U.S. Capitol on S... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-KY) listens as Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) addresses reporters following a weekly Republican policy meeting at the U.S. Capitol on September 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Why is Mitch McConnell blinking? Let’s be clear: this is a blink, not a cave. There’s a lot to play out. But here is the gist. Democrats refusal to budge on using reconciliation to beat Republicans’ repeated filibusters is moving quickly toward a situation where there will literally be only two options: filibuster carve-out or debt default. Those are both very bad options to McConnell. As I noted yesterday, this isn’t a matter of saying “Oh Democrats are tougher. They won’t cave.” It’s that the mechanics of reconciliation will mean there’s no more time. They’ll have no way to cave. That calendar reality creates a very bad situation for McConnell.

McConnell’s move tells us he doesn’t believe Schumer will budge on reconciliation and that will move toward the default or filibuster carve out scenario. He doesn’t want to get there.

So what he’s trying to do is get rid of that time limit, that calendar reality with “expedited reconciliation.” Basically reconciliation but he’ll allow it to be super quick now.

Or he’ll allow a short term extension that will bring this back up in a month or whenever he thinks it will be worst for Dems. These are both ways of getting out of that default or filibuster carve-out scenario which he seems to realize is a big loser for him and his caucus.

That’s what’s happening here.

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