Intensifying debt talks threaten rare GOP unity


House Republicans took a hard line going into high-stakes debt negotiations with President Joe Biden. Their Senate counterparts are now gently reminding them to show some flexibility.

As Biden and congressional leaders prepare for a Tuesday meeting aimed at bridging the House GOP’s conservative offer in debt-limit talks and Democrats’ insistence on a clean hike, Senate Republicans are watching Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s conference closely. After sticking their necks out for the California Republican, they’re aware of how tough it is to imagine an agreement that can pass the Democratic Senate and also keep the party’s conservatives on board.

Senate Republican leaders are ecstatic that McCarthy’s been able to both pass a bill and enter into negotiations with the president that Democrats sought to avoid. But at some point, the intraparty honeymoon will end. And while Republican senators are still refusing to undercut McCarthy and pursue their own deal, they’re still wary of the potential for GOP unity to fracture.