McConnell: 'Ideally' debt ceiling vote is before August recess
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) signaled on Tuesday that he wants a vote on raising the debt ceiling before lawmakers leave for the August recess. 

"Ideally we'll deal with the debt ceiling before the August recess," he told reporters. 

The timeline comes after Senate Republicans announced they would delay the start of the August recess by two weeks — moving the recess start date from July 31 to August 14. 

The move, McConnell suggested, could give lawmakers time to deal with a backlog of delayed legislation and work out an agreement to increase the debt ceiling before they leave Washington until early September. 

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has urged Congress to increase the debt ceiling before the August recess, but the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the country will not run out of borrowing options until mid-October. 

Conservatives typically want the vote tied to entitlement reform or spending cuts — a move that would likely draw pushback from Democrats. 

McConnell sidestepped Tuesday on saying if the vote needed to be tied to spending cuts.

"We'll see, but the debt ceiling must be raised," he said. 

The House Freedom Caucus outlined on Monday three possible options to raise the debt ceiling that could win their vote.

One option would require the Treasury secretary to issue GDP-linked bonds to pay the country’s debt in the event that the debt ceiling is reached, and allow the president to authorize the sale of certain government assets to raise funds for the payments.

The second option would tie the debt ceiling to a budget resolution and require $250 billion in mandatory spending cuts. The third option would tie the debt ceiling vote to an ObamaCare repeal effort in case Republicans split repeal and replace. 

Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE (R-Utah), said the Senate Finance Committee chairman has started talking to the administration about when Congress should vote.

"Chairman Hatch is working with the administration to get more details on what the appropriate time will be for Congress to act to raise the debt ceiling and is continuing to work with his colleagues in Congress to find a viable path forward to achieve this goal," she told The Hill late last week.

Republicans are expected to need to negotiate with Democrats on how to raise the debt ceiling for the first time since a vote in 2014.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned on Tuesday that would be "very hard" for Democrats to support the move if it was tied to tax cuts for high-income earners. 

"The burden of proof is on them to come up with a proposal," he said.