McConnell: ‘We’ll figure some way’ to avoid government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback MORE (R-Ky.) on Sunday vowed that Republicans would figure out a way to handle the nation's debt ceiling in order to avoid a government shutdown.

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"The debt ceiling will be handled over a period of months,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked if Republicans would vote to lift the debt ceiling. “The secretary of the Treasury has a number of what we call 'tools in his toolbox,'" he added.

Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE wrote in a letter to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBreaking the impasse on shutdown, border security McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Ohio) on Friday that he was preparing to take "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on the country's debt and urged Congress to act soon to raise the cap on borrowing. It was suspended last year, but takes effect again March 16.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week estimated that the Treasury Department could hold off any missed payments until sometime in the fall, likely around October.

"I made it very clear after the November election that we're certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt," McConnell said Sunday, referencing last year's midterms.

President Obama has traditionally demanded Congress raise the ceiling without coupling it with other policy provisions, though he now faces a GOP-led Congress.

"We'll figure some way to handle that. And hopefully, it might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it," McConnell said.