Portman warns White House on debt ceiling

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released more details on the administration debt ceiling plan, which it is calling the “McConnell Provision” after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Obama himself told the Business Roundtable, a group of corporate chief executives, that a repeat of last year’s debt ceiling showdown would merely exacerbate uncertainty in the business community. The president has also said he made a mistake in voting against a debt ceiling increase during his time in the Senate.

Under the plan floated by the White House, the president could tell Congress that it planned to hike the debt limit once the federal ledger got to $100 billion away from the ceiling.

The administration says they lifted the plan from McConnell, who played a crucial role in ending last summer’s standoff over the debt ceiling. But the minority leader’s office has pushed back on that characterization, calling the Obama proposal a “power grab.”

In his letter, Portman notes that, in addition to last summer’s Budget Control Act, large budget deals in the 1990s were also linked to the debt ceiling. Portman’s letter was first reported by Roll Call

“We also believe that Congress’s power over borrowing, like the power of the purse, is firmly rooted in our constitutional tradition,” the senator wrote.