Mulvaney, in reversal, backs Mnuchin on debt ceiling hike


White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said he supports getting “the simplest debt ceiling increase that we can get,” an about-face that puts him in line with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

While Mnuchin has consistently called for an increase to the debt limit with no policy changes attached, Mulvaney had taken a different tack.

{mosads}Mulvaney, who leads the Office of Management and Budget, had said earlier this summer that he would like to see things attached to the debt-limit bill “that drive certain spending reforms and debt reforms in the future.”

But Mulvaney on Thursday said Mnuchin, who is calling for a “clean” debt ceiling increase, “speaks for the administration” on the issue.

“We’ve heard that out of the president’s mouth, and I respect that, in fact that’s the right way to do it. I’ve got budget, Mnuchin’s got debt ceiling, and [Gary] Cohn’s got tax [reform] so there is no infighting within the administration about the debt ceiling.”

If Congress fails to raise the debt limit by Sept. 29, the U.S. could default on its debt, which would spark a financial and economic crisis. 

Yet members of Congress, particularly Republicans, are loath to raise the unpopular limit and frequently seek to use the must-pass vote to advance other political priorities.

Before joining the Trump administration, Mulvaney was a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which has long insisted that some spending reforms be tied to any debt increase.

– This story was updated at 5:11 p.m.

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