Pelosi: Proposal to take debt ceiling authority away from Congress 'has merit'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Judge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November MORE (D-Calif.) said Tuesday she thinks a bill that would transfer the authority to raise the debt limit from Congress to the Treasury secretary "has merit."

Pelosi's support for shifting the near-annual responsibility of ensuring the U.S. doesn't default on its debts comes as a growing number of Democrats in recent weeks have endorsed abolishing the debt limit in its current form. 

House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDemocrats at odds with Manchin over child tax credit provision The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden, Democrats dig into legislative specifics Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE (D-Ky.) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) introduced a bill late last month that would vest the responsibility of raising the debt limit with the Treasury secretary.


"I think it has merit," Pelosi said of the proposal at a press conference in the Capitol.

The House is scheduled to vote later Tuesday to clear a short-term extension of the debt limit into early December, less than a week before the Oct. 18 deadline in which the Treasury Department estimated the U.S. could start defaulting on its obligations.

The calls for reforming the debt limit came in response to Republicans' insistence in recent weeks that they would not vote to raise the debt limit because they want Democrats to use the budget reconciliation process, which is exempt from a Senate filibuster but is more time-consuming and requires specifying a number to raise the debt limit to, rather than suspending it for a period of time. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) ultimately agreed to supply enough GOP votes to advance a short-term measure to raise the debt limit, arguing it would provide enough time for Democrats to use reconciliation in the coming weeks for a long-term measure and vowing that Republicans wouldn't vote for another extension

Pelosi said late last month that she thinks the Boyle-Yarmuth proposal is an "excellent idea."

But for now, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are focused on ensuring that legislation to prevent a debt default next week reaches President BidenJoe BidenGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE's desk.

"In the meantime, we're going to pass a bill today to take us to December," Pelosi said.

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters US deficit hits .8 trillion, second largest in history Financial oversight panel unveils climate risk plan MORE last month endorsed the idea of abolishing the debt limit in its current form. 

The White House has not yet indicated if Biden supports similar reforms to the debt limit.

“Right now, our focus is on raising the debt ceiling and the limited amount of time we have left to do that," White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden remarks on Taiwan leave administration scrambling Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Biden injects new momentum into filibuster fight MORE said last week. "There’s plenty of time to have a conversation after that."