Freedom Caucus backs three debt ceiling options

Freedom Caucus backs three debt ceiling options
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The House Freedom Caucus is pushing for Republicans to adopt one of three possible approaches to the debt ceiling, calling for it to be addressed before Congress adjourns for the August recess.

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. 

Mnuchin has also urged a “clean” debt lift, which would keep any additional policy riders on the sidelines, but senior administration officials have continued voicing their support for attaching such riders.

The three options, originally reported by Axios and confirmed by The Hill, include a plan that 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.

That option was proposed in a bill introduced Thursday by Rep. David SchweikertDavid SchweikertThe Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on tax-reform bill GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward leads challengers in internal poll Kelli Ward pursues Rand Paul’s endorsement in Arizona MORE (R-Ariz.).

The second option would acquiesce to the debt ceiling being attached to the budget resolution, but demand that associated mandatory spending cuts increase to $250 billion. 

The House Budget Committee had originally settled on $150 billion in cuts, mostly from welfare programs, but the Freedom Caucus had refused to support the plan unless cuts increased to $200 billion. Moderate Republicans have said that even the lowest of these figures would be difficult to pass.

The final option would be to link the debt ceiling to the ObamaCare repeal effort in the event that the bill was split into separate repeal and replace sectors.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) has thrown cold water on the idea of splitting the bill, despite conservative support for the idea as a Plan B if the current bill under consideration fails in the Senate.