Republican members of Congress hope that President Donald Trump can make the effort to raise the debt ceiling easier as Congress gets back to work Tuesday.
Republican leadership is eager to pass what’s called a “clean” debt limit increase, which would fund the government without associated mandatory cuts in spending. Conservative members of Congress are fighting to include language that would force widespread spending cuts but indicate they would be willing to support the clean bill if the president told his strongest supporters it was what he wanted.
“Districts like mine are extremely supportive of the president; if he wants a ‘clean’ debt vote, and he’s vocal about it, the right play … would be to let him do the whipping for it and it would get done,” Republican Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida told Politico.
The president has yet to come forward with a definitive statement on the matter, despite the fact that several members of the administration have spoken publicly in favor of a clean bill. Congressional Republicans want Trump to make a tighter statement that they can bring home to their districts as proof they are working on what the president wants.
Trump hasn’t tweeted about tax reform amidst Hurricane Harvey’s devastation and North Korea’s nuclear tests, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that the president supported the idea of keeping the government opened over fighting for spending cuts. She added that whether or not the debt limit is increased is up to Congress.
“Over the past two decades, members of Congress and presidents from both parties have raised the debt ceiling 15 times, and we look forward to working with Congress to ensure the full faith and credit of the United States Government,” Sanders told reporters at the beginning of August .
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan appeared confident that Republicans would be able to push the measure through both chambers of Congress before the end of September.
“We will pay our debts, and we will make the debt limit,” Ryan told CNBC last week. “I’m really not worried about getting this done because I know we will get this done, and we will pass the increase before we hit the debt limit.”
Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has also openly said that the administration is behind a clean spending bill, urging Congress to make the move “as soon as possible.”
Other Republicans agreed. Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington argued that the bill shouldn’t be tacked on to anything else, given the subject’s importance.
“I don’t want any insular issue to be brought to bear on something that is this important,” he told Politico. “This ought to be as pure and isolated from all the other debates.”
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