Senate passes bill to make lynching a federal crime
McConnell: No debt ceiling vote needed until 2018
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says Congress will hold off on raising the debt ceiling until 2018 now that lawmakers cleared a three-month extension.
"Since I was in charge of drafting the debt ceiling provision that we inserted into the flood bill we likely, almost certainly, are not going to have another debt ceiling discussion until well into 2018," McConnell told The New York Times.
The bill Congress cleared last week raises the debt ceiling until Dec. 8. But the Treasury Department could use "extraordinary measures" to push back the deadline for another debt increase, likely until the spring.
Democrats hoped forcing GOP leadership to deal with both the debt ceiling and funding the government at the end of the year would give them more leverage heading into the fall.
But McConnell said Democratic leadership "spiked the ball in the end zone a little too early."
"The deal is not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was," he said. "I think I can safely say the debt ceiling and the spending issue in December will be decoupled because the debt ceiling will not come up until sometime in 2018."
McConnell argued the end-of-the-year discussions will be focused on spending levels and hurricane relief.
But Senate Republicans will need the support of at least eight Democrats to pass either a government funding bill or a debt ceiling increase through the chamber. And House Republican leadership could be forced to lean on Democrats to help pass either bill if they aren't able to win over enough conservatives.
Seventeen Senate Republicans voted against last week's short-term deal, while every Democrats supported it.