Finance

Mnuchin says he and Trump are mulling changes to ‘ridiculous’ debt limit process

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday said he and President Trump are mulling how to change the method through which the U.S. government caps the federal debt.

Mnuchin said it was “ridiculous” that lawmakers needed to regularly raise the legal limit on how much debt the U.S. government can hold or risk triggering a global crisis.

The Treasury Department secretary said he and Trump are discussing ways to make sure all spending appropriated and authorized by Congress would not be affected by the federal debt.

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“We absolutely have to raise the debt ceiling every time we get close to hitting the debt ceiling,” Mnuchin said in a question-and-answer session at the Economic Club of Washington.

The U.S. federal debt exceeded $20 trillion last year and is currently over the federal debt limit. The Treasury Department will likely be able to stave off a potential default on U.S. debt by diverting and delaying internal payments until March.

A failure to raise the debt ceiling past that point could risk financial turmoil, though credit analysts say a temporary breach of the debt ceiling won’t destabilize the economy.

Republicans have long insisted on attaching spending cuts to any bill to raise the debt ceiling, while Democrats have called such measures unnecessary.

Trump has floated eliminating the debt ceiling altogether, which some Democrats have supported. GOP lawmakers are largely opposed to the idea.

Tags debt ceiling Debt limit Donald Trump economy Steven Mnuchin Steven Mnuchin Treasury
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