Herald-Leader: McConnell stares down Democrats on debt ceiling

I spoke to McClatchy‘s Dave Catanese for a piece in the Lexington Herald-Leader about Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s game of chicken with congressional Democrats on the debt ceiling.

For the moment, McConnell’s bet is that because Democrats are in power, they will shoulder more of the blame if the country somehow stumbles into default. Among Republican voters, it might even be a bigger risk to accommodate more Biden-branded spending.

“Who the median voters will blame if things go south is an open question — and in part a function of how you guys cover it,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist. “But your average Republicans will not object to the conference playing hardball here, and for GOP members there may be more immediate risk if they are seen as capitulating on the debt limit and facilitating the Biden agenda.”

Read the full piece here.
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Talking Tax w/ Bloomberg’s Colin Wilhelm

My Bracewell colleague Yasmin Nelson and I joined host Colin Wilhelm for Bloomberg‘s Talking Tax podcast, where we discussed the House’s progress on the reconciliation package, the apparent demise of the Biden administration’s plan to eliminate stepped-up basis, the moderate revolt on drug pricing, and where things go from here.

Listen to the episode here and subscribe to “Talking Tax” on Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify.

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CNN: McConnell carefully choosing battles in Trump proxy war for the midterms

I spoke to CNN’s Mike Warren about the GOP primary dynamics, and the cautious approach by Senate leaders vis a vis Trump.

McConnell’s political team has greeted other Trump endorsements in open primaries with cautious accommodation — including Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks in Alabama, and Ted Budd in North Carolina. None could be described as McConnell’s ideal candidates, said one Republican consultant, but none would significantly diminish the GOP’s chances of winning next November.

And in the case of Nevada’s Adam Laxalt, Trump has thrown his support behind a candidate McConnell worked to recruit himself.

“Except, arguably, in Georgia, Trump hasn’t picked anybody who can’t win, and there aren’t any competitive races where an establishment alternative would be a slam dunk,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist. “You don’t wade into a primary proxy battle against Trump for sport — there has to be something to gain.”

Read the full piece here.

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