Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday Congress should act on a budget caps deal to raise the debt limit in the next few weeks.
Lawmakers had long expected that they wouldn't need to act on raising the debt limit until the fall. But a new study from the Bipartisan Policy Center earlier this week concluded that the Treasury Department could run out of so-called extraordinary measures by early September.
"I am personally convinced that we should act on the caps and the debt ceiling,” Pelosi told reporters, “prior to recess.”
The House and Senate are only scheduled to be in session for another few weeks before leaving for the August recess. The House is set to adjourn on July 26 and the Senate is expected to be in session through Aug. 1.
Both chambers aren't scheduled to come back until Sept. 9.
When asked if she’s optimistic about a budget deal, Pelosi said, “I am realistic.”
“We will see. We are going back and forth,” Pelosi said.
Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE, after leaving a meeting with House and Senate GOP leaders on Wednesday, said that it would be his "preference" for Congress to act before the August recess.
"That is something we’re having discussions about, updating the numbers and potentially the need to do something before everybody leaves," Mnuchin said.
A Pelosi aide later told The Hill that Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke twice on Thursday by phone, once at 4:45 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The two agreed to speak again Friday morning, the aide said.
Both parties have sought to attach a debt limit hike to a budget deal that establishes spending levels for the next two years.
Talks stalled in recent weeks amid disagreement between Democrats and the White House because of domestic spending levels.
But lawmakers had expected the deadline wouldn't be until the end of September, when current government funding runs out.
The U.S. debt limit was officially reached earlier this year, but the Treasury Department has been using the extraordinary measures to keep borrowing in ways that don't count toward the debt. But once those measures run out, the U.S. risks a default.
Updated 8:15 p.m.