The conservative House Freedom Caucus said on Wednesday that it opposed a “clean” increase of the debt ceiling, just hours after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he preferred a clean raise.
A "clean" debt ceiling hike wouldn't include other conditions, including the spending cuts favored by Freedom Caucus members.
“We oppose any clean raising of the debt ceiling, we call for the debt ceiling to be addressed by Congress prior to the August Recess, and we demand that any increase of the debt ceiling be paired with policy that addresses Washington’s unsustainable spending by cutting where necessary, capping where able, and working to balance in the near future,” an official statement from the caucus said.
While the decision flies in the face of the Trump administration's preferences, it will please conservative groups, which had hoped that the debt ceiling would be raised separately from a larger fight over government funding in September and used as a vehicle to extract fiscal reforms.
Mnuchin had urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling, which allows for the government to continue paying its debts, before the August recess.
Previous scares over breaching the debt ceiling have caused the U.S. to lose its Triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's, ultimately increasing borrowing costs for the government. If the government fails to raise or otherwise deal with the debt ceiling, it will default on its debt, which could send global financial markets reeling.
If all 30 members of the Freedom Caucus oppose a "clean" increase, the House would need Democratic support in order to raise the debt ceiling. Democrats have proved more open to a clean increase.