Trump's acting budget chief accuses Pelosi of holding debt ceiling increase 'hostage'

Trump's acting budget chief accuses Pelosi of holding debt ceiling increase 'hostage'
© Greg Nash

Acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought accused House Democrats on Thursday of holding "the debt limit hostage," after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Calif.) said she wouldn't agree to raise the debt ceiling before the White House agrees to raise spending caps

Vought called Pelosi's move "reckless and irresponsible."

"With our nation already more than $22 trillion in debt, Congress should be working with us to reduce wasteful spending and decrease deficits. The administration has consistently urged Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting to increase the debt limit as soon as possible," Vought said in a statement.

Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday that lifting the debt ceiling will come "second or simultaneous" to lifting the caps, but not before.

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Congress will need to suspend or increase the federal debt limit by fall in order to avoid defaulting on its own debt, which would impact global markets and hurt the Treasury Department's ability to raise money by selling government bonds.

The White House has demanded that the statutory caps remain in place while raising defense spending through a budget maneuver. But Democrats in the House have been passing spending bills that would raise funding levels by $17 billion for defense and $34 billion for nondefense.

Negotiations over the debt limit have been tied to discussions over raising the spending caps, a move that is needed to prevent a significant decline in government spending. Inaction would see both defense and domestic spending drop by about 10 percent in fiscal 2020, which begins Oct. 1.