Pelosi: Debt Limit Vote Possible Before August Recess

July 10, 2019by Lindsey McPherson

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday didn’t rule out voting on a debt limit increase before the August recess, though she indicated the need to raise the discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2020 is still an integral part of the discussions.

“Let’s see how the conversations go,” she said. “We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America. That’s never been what we’ve been about, but there are those on the Republican side who have embraced that again and again.”

Estimates from the Treasury Department and the Congressional Budget Office have put the deadline for raising the debt limit, required for the U.S. to continue to be able to pay for all government services and benefits, sometime in the latter half of 2019, likely by early October.

Pelosi’s hard line in the debt limit talks has to do with the federal fiscal year deadline of Oct. 1, after which there could be another partial government shutdown if lawmakers and the White House can’t agree on appropriations levels. House Democrats’ view has been that their best leverage to extract higher nondefense spending is to merge the two deadlines so the administration has to play ball on appropriations in order to get the timely debt limit ceiling increase they want.

But the Bipartisan Policy Center, which tracks federal inflows and outlays carefully, said Monday the true “X date” could be moved up to early September given softer projections of corporate tax receipts. That was injecting a greater sense of urgency into the discussions as lawmakers trickled back into town from the July Fourth recess.

“I would hope that we would never think about default. We have not defaulted on our debt, to my understanding, since 1812,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said Tuesday. “If we have the thought of default or going right up to the brink of default, it sends shock waves through the financial markets of the world. We, the Congress and the administration, owe the American people a lot better than that.”

The discretionary spending talks have been stuck over House Democrats’ insistence on a nondefense number that is over $100 billion more than the White House wants. There’s been no apparent budging on Democrats’ adherence to about $647 billion in nondefense funds, which would be a 7% boost over the current year. The comparable White House figure is about 10% below fiscal 2019.

House Democrats have passed 10 out of the 12 fiscal 2020 appropriations bills at those levels, plus a $733 billion figure for defense, which is $17 billion shy of what the White House wants.

“The administration knows where we are on that. We’ll just wait to hear back from them,” Pelosi said, adding there were no further meetings planned between senior Capitol Hill and administration officials. Two earlier meetings that included the top congressional leaders of both parties and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, acting budget chief Russell Vought and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin haven’t borne any fruit.

“I don’t see any reason to have a meeting,” Pelosi said. “They know where we are. We’ve met, we’ve met, we’ve met. We just anticipate some response from them. If there is a reason to have a meeting, let’s see what they have to say but so far all we need is a response from them.”

At the most recent meeting, White House officials floated a one-year stopgap bill, continuing current funding levels, as well as a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling. But that proposal hasn’t gone anywhere, and GOP defense hawks in Congress have panned the potential impact on the military.

Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said Tuesday that it would be in “everybody’s best interest” for congressional leaders and the Trump administration to reach an agreement on spending levels and the debt limit before Congress leaves for its August recess.

“It would be nice if we could get a caps deal and the House Democrats would start showing a little bit of flexibility and be willing to work with the White House to agree on a number,” Thune said. “We could write a caps deal and attach the debt limit to it and get those issues resolved before August, which I think would be in everybody’s best interest.”

———

David Lerman contributed to this report.

———

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Budget

House Democrats, White House Strike Deal on Budget and Debt Ceiling Federal Budget
House Democrats, White House Strike Deal on Budget and Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON — White House officials and congressional leaders reached a deal Monday evening to lift the nation’s debt limit and boost federal spending by about $320 billion over caps set to take effect under a 2011 budget law. The agreement, first announced by President Donald Trump... Read More

Blue Dog Coalition Releases Blueprint for Fiscal Reform Federal Budget
Blue Dog Coalition Releases Blueprint for Fiscal Reform
July 19, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON—The Blue Dog Coalition on Thursday released a comprehensive plan it believes will help restore fiscal discipline in Congress.  The Blue Dog Blueprint for Fiscal Reform was developed under the leadership of Representatives Ed Case, D-Hawaii, and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, co-chairs of the Blue Dog Task... Read More

Alaska Legislature Convenes For Special Session Amid Budget Fallout State News
Alaska Legislature Convenes For Special Session Amid Budget Fallout
July 19, 2019
by Elin Johnson

Controversy continues to roil Alaska, a week after the state legislature failed to overturn $444 million in budget cuts by Governor Mike Dunleavy. The latest dispute, resolved only Wednesday, concerned the location for a special session of the legislature that Dunleavy initially called solely to determine... Read More

Pelosi: Extra Veterans Health Care Funds Needed in Debt Deal Veterans
Pelosi: Extra Veterans Health Care Funds Needed in Debt Deal

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday pressing for added funds to help veterans see private doctors as part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling and tight appropriations caps. Pelosi’s letter opens a new front in the... Read More

Connecticut Governor Signs Budget, Closing Deficit Without Hiking Tax Rates State News
Connecticut Governor Signs Budget, Closing Deficit Without Hiking Tax Rates
July 12, 2019
by Elin Johnson

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed the state's new spending plan this week, a plan that closes the $3.7 billion deficit he inherited when he took office in January without raising taxes. “For years, instability in the state’s finances has resulted in slow growth and volatility in... Read More

US Budget Deficit Jumped By $140 Billion Through June Budget
US Budget Deficit Jumped By $140 Billion Through June
July 12, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. budget deficit increased by $140 billion during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, rising to $747.1 billion, the Treasury Department said Thursday. The department said the deficit for the current fiscal year through June is up 23.1% over the... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top