President Donald Trump is angry with Republican leaders because of a proposal floating around Capitol Hill that undercuts his legislative agenda and provides major concessions to Democrats, two conservative strategists with more than 40 years of Hill experience told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are planning to pass legislation that would raise the debt ceiling and fully fund Obamacare subsidies through the 2018 election cycle, a source within the administration told TheDCNF. Leadership is also preparing to pass a short-term spending bill — a continuing resolution — that would fund the government through mid-December, include no appropriations for Trump’s border wall, and continue funding to Planned Parenthood, the conservative strategists told TheDCNF.
The administration announced in late August that it wants lawmakers to pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase, meaning a piece of legislation that raises the debt limit with no additional measures attached.
Ryan is counting on Democrats in the House to get the proposal passed — a risky strategy as leadership does not typically get the minority party to raise the debt limit, the conservative strategists told TheDCNF.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has put the onus of raising the debt ceiling entirely on Republicans, and has hinted on multiple occasions that Democrats will not eagerly support their Republican colleagues in raising the debt ceiling without key concessions.
“With the White House, House and Senate under one party control, the American people expect and deserve a plan from Republicans to avert a catastrophic default and ensure the full faith and credit of the United States,” Pelosi said Thursday. “With so much at risk for hard-working families, Republicans need to stop the chaos and sort themselves out in a hurry.”
Democrat’s unanimous opposition to the Republican’s first major legislative effort — repealing and replacing Obamacare — also does not bode well for bipartisanship on raising the debt ceiling.
The president has made no effort to hide his frustration with Ryan and McConnell in recent weeks. He has publicly admonished them for failing to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and for not heeding his advice on other legislative matters.
Trump called both Republican leaders out on Twitter Thursday, claiming he asked the pair to attach a measure to raise the debt ceiling to the recently-passed Veterans Affairs bill. He then went on to blame McConnell and Ryan for failing to follow through with his request, and said raising the debt ceiling “could have been easy.” Now the situation is “a mess,” he said.
McConnell’s office referred TheDCNF to his statement Wednesday, which said that the majority leader and his staff are working closely with Trump and the administration to accomplish their “shared goals.” The office did not elaborate on McConnell’s plans going forward.
Ryan’s staff referred TheDCNF to his statements Thursday in an interview with CNBC, where he told reporters Congress will “make sure we pay our debts” and “will not hit the debt ceiling.” The speaker’s staff did not provide any further details.
Whether or not Ryan and McConnell put forth said proposal, Congress must come to a decision on what to do with the debt ceiling and government spending.
Congress has no choice but to pass a spending bill before or on Sept. 30 to fund the U.S. government. If Congress fails to pass said bill before Oct. 1, portions of the government will be forced to shut down and all non-essential government employees will forgo payment until an agreement is met. If lawmakers pass a continuing resolution, which is the current plan, they will not have to make a decision till some agreed upon future date. During that period, spending levels would remain unchanged.
The debt ceiling — the limit on the amount of money the government can borrow through debt issued by the U.S. Treasury — also poses a problem for Republican leadership in Congress. If Congress does not come to an agreement on the raising the debt ceiling, the U.S. Treasury will be unable to pay its liabilities in October, which has the potential to downgrade the U.S. credit rating. (RELATED: 3 Obstacles To Passing Trump’s Massive Tax Reform Cut)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urged Congress in late May to raise the debt ceiling before leaving for the August recess, or even sooner, to avoid shocking financial markets and imposing some potentially dire liquidity risks. Mnuchin enacted “extraordinary measures” in March to ensure that the federal government could pay its bills through the summer, but warned that those measures would be ineffective at staving off a solvency crisis in the fall.
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