'Debt limit hostage taking' by McConnell backfired and is now helping Biden pass his agenda: analysis
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made a strategic mistake by refusing to help raise the debt ceiling, a congressional historian explained on MSNBC on Tuesday evening.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Norm Ornstein about the path for raising the debt ceiling, which could plunge the economy into recession if not solved.

"Norm, it sounds like the debt limit would probably have to go into the reconciliation bill. Is that where we are?" O'Donnell asked.

"That's clearly what McConnell is trying to achieve," Ornstein replied.

"And there is something perverse about it from his perspective, as we know Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) said, 'What's the rush here? Let's take our time with this.'

"What this debt limit hostage taking and reckless behavior does on the part of not just Mitch McConnell, but every Republican senator, every single one that joins with him, adds an urgency to getting that reconciliation package done," he explained. "This may have a perverse impact if we get this taken to a point where they deal with it in reconciliation."

"So this strategy could mean that the debt ceiling goes from being a legislative hostage to being a legislative engine pushing the reconciliation bill forward," O'Donnell said.

"And if that happens and we get rid of the debt ceiling ridiculous process once and for all and get both of these bills, reconciliation and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I will take the bottle of wine sitting behind me and raise a glass to Mitch McConnell," Ornstein said.