But behind the scenes, McConnell tried to bring McCarthy into the fold. As he ventured across the Capitol last week, McConnell ducked into McCarthy’s office for a meeting that lasted roughly 30 minutes. In the meeting, McConnell floated an idea to resolve the debt ceiling standoff by tying the issue to an annual defense policy bill, according to a source briefed on the meeting.
McCarthy informed McConnell that the proposal wouldn’t fly in the House and warned him that Republicans would “bail” on the defense legislation, according to a GOP lawmaker who later heard about the conversation. That idea was ultimately scrapped.
McConnell left the meeting and continued to negotiate with Schumer. And ultimately, McConnell cut a deal — backed by Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to fold the fast-track debt ceiling process into a more popular measure to stave off deep cuts to Medicare.
House members were angry.