McConnell: 'Zero chance' Congress doesn't raise debt limit

McConnell: 'Zero chance' Congress doesn't raise debt limit
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Ky.) pledged Monday that lawmakers and the president wouldn’t allow the United States to default on its debt this fall, risking a global financial crisis.

McConnell said there is “zero chance” Congress won’t raise the debt ceiling — the legal limit on how much the federal government can owe — before the Treasury Department runs out of ways to delay a default.

The Congressional Budget Office and outside experts have projected the Treasury to exhaust its repayments options sometime in September or October.

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"There is zero chance — no chance — we won't raise the debt ceiling,” McConnell said during a Louisville, Ky., event with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMexico's president presses Pompeo on reuniting migrant families Senators seek data on tax law's impact on charitable giving 'Our Cartoon President' takes on Mueller probe, NATO and Melania in second season MORE.

House Republicans in the past have used the debt-ceiling deadline to try to win spending cuts and policy changes from Democrats. But the GOP-controlled government appears committed to passing a “clean” debt ceiling hike with no partisan attachments, since clearing the measure will likely count on at least some Democratic support.

"We need to raise the debt limit, and it is my strong preference that there is a clean raise of the debt limit," Mnuchin said.

"I'm all for spending controls," he said, "but as it relates to the debt limit, this is not about spending money, it's about paying for what we've spent, and we cannot put our credit on the line."

The Treasury Department began taking “extraordinary measures” to avoid breaching the debt ceiling last April, delaying the purchase of certain bonds and securities and prioritizing certain payments.