Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Thune are trying to persuade undecided rank-and-file senators to avoid a replay of last week’s debacle in the House, when roughly two-thirds of House Republicans opposed the deal, according to multiple senators and aides. Trump is “strategically” making calls to on-the-fence members, Thune said.
McConnell delivered a firm message to his caucus on Tuesday during lunch at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, warning them they cannot leave town until the budget and looming debt ceiling deadline has been addressed, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. McConnell also said the chamber will not recess without passing something.
McConnell and Thune’s goal is to get at least 27 of the caucus’s 53 members in support of the deal, a majority of the Republican-controlled Senate that will combine with most of the Democratic caucus to push the deal over the top. That Republican number may be aspirational given the party’s antipathy for new spending, but Thune said he was “hopeful” he could meet it.