Sep 12, 2017

McConnell: Democrats didn't get as good a deal on debt limit as they think

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Congressional leaders and administration officials on tax reform, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Sen. Mitch McConnell told the New York Times that the spending deal Democrats made with President Trump "is not quite as good" as they thought because it will push off the next debt-limit debate until well into 2018. McConnell says he preserved Treasury Dept. powers to use measures to delay an eventual need to raise the limit again

Why it matters: Republicans were furious about Trump's spending and debt-limit deal with Democrats because it pushed the the next debt-limit and spending debate into December when immigration issues could also come up. McConnell said that won't be the case. "I think I can safely say the debt ceiling and the spending issue in December will be decoupled because the debt ceiling will not come up until sometime in 2018," he told the Times.

What to watch for next: Democrats are skeptical McConnell will follow through because it "would put Republicans on the spot," and push the fight into an already-difficult midterm election year, the Times wrote.

Go deeper

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Jim Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.