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Trump urged GOP Senators to vote 'no' on raising the debt ceiling. 11 including Mitch McConnell ignored him and voted to pave the way for passage.

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© Astrid Riecken/Getty Images U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gives a thumbs up when asked whether a deal has been reached regarding the ongoing debate on the national debt reduction on July 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

  • Former President Donald Trump has been vocal about disagreeing with raising the debt ceiling.
  • But 11 GOP senators helped Democrats clear a procedural vote that paved the way for final passage.
  • Trump’s sway is more limited in the Senate compared to the House.

Former President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans to oppose raising the debt ceiling only minutes before the vote began. But 11 GOP senators – including the upper chamber’s top Republican – ignored his comments anyway and helped Democrats clear a procedural hurdle in the deadlocked Senate allowing the bill to pass in the end.

“Republican Senators, do not vote for this terrible deal being pushed by folding Mitch McConnell. Stand strong for our Country. The American people are with you!” the former president advised.

Eleven GOP senators helped Democrats clear an initial procedural vote to cut off debate and break the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster. That allowed the measure to advance to final passage with only Democratic votes.

Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Shelley Moore-Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and John Thune of South Dakota helped Democrats break the filibuster. The cloture vote was 61-38; the final vote on the bill was 50-48 along party lines.

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Trump’s influence is more limited in the Senate compared to the House, where he holds outsized sway among Republican lawmakers. In the summer, 19 Republican senators supported President Joe Biden’s $550 billion infrastructure bill, despite his demands that they tank it. Still, that doesn’t mean he wields no influence in the Senate.

“I think Donald Trump always influences people’s votes whether he says something or doesn’t,” Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told reporters.

Senate Republicans were largely upset with McConnell’s maneuver on Thursday, and they struggled to dig up 10 votes in their ranks to clear the first procedural vote, known as cloture. Raising the debt ceiling would avoid a government default. An agreement made Thursday allows for a $480 billion increase until December 3.

The debt ceiling is the statutory cap on how much the government can borrow to repay its bills. Suspending the limit gives the US more time to pay its bills for pandemic stimulus and other key aid programs from the last two years. If Congress fails to raise the limit, the government can default on its debt and plunge the US into a new economic crisis.

“We’ve averted the fiscal cliff – at least for now,” Murkowski told reporters after the vote.

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