Congress, White House indicate debt limit increase will be part of spending deal

Congress, White House indicate debt limit increase will be part of spending deal
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Congressional leaders and White House officials on Tuesday indicated that raising the debt ceiling will be part of a broader deal on spending caps.

"We all agree debt ceiling is going to be part of an overall deal, but we're not discussing that right now,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Pelosi, Schumer vow climate action: 'It is an imperative' MORE (N.Y.) told reporters after meeting with Congress’s three other party leaders and President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE’s senior advisers.

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A White House official said the administration would be open to combining a debt limit increase and new defense and nondefense budgetary caps.

Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate votes to take up infrastructure deal Senators say they have deal on 'major issues' in infrastructure talks Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (S.D.), who did not participate in Tuesday's meeting in Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE's (D-Calif.) office, said it makes sense to attach debt limit legislation to a spending caps agreement.

“It has to be done somewhere. That would be a natural vehicle to put it on,” he said.

Congressional leaders met with senior White House officials for more than two hours in Pelosi’s office on Tuesday morning and reported “progress.”

Pelosi and Schumer were joined in the meeting by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: 'It never occurred to me' convincing Americans to get vaccinated would be difficult The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (R-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE and acting White House budget director Russ Vought.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan joined for a portion of the meeting.

“We have some differences but there’s some good progress being made,” Schumer told reporters afterward.

Mulvaney declined to say whether he could agree to a two-year spending deal, which Democratic and GOP leaders favor as a strategy to avoid another government shutdown.

“We are coming back later this afternoon,” said Mulvaney, who declined to discuss any details.

They plan to resume negotiations at 4:15 p.m.

House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDemocrats look to flip script on GOP 'defund the police' attacks Democrats hit crunch time in Biden spending fight Republican immigration proposal falls flat MORE (D-Ky.), who was briefed on Tuesday morning's meeting, said that as far as he knew, nobody in the negotiations was opposed to raising the debt ceiling.
 
“I know Mnuchin wants it, and we certainly want it,” he said, referring to inclusion of the debt increase in a spending deal.
 
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
The negotiators are likely to settle on a numerical increase, as opposed to the more common practice in recent years of suspending the ceiling for a certain period, Yarmuth said.
 
The White House has called for the fiscal 2020 spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act to take effect and to increase defense spending with the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which does not count against the budget caps.

Democrats say nondefense domestic programs need to be increased alongside defense programs.

“We have certain domestic needs that are very important to us,” Schumer said.

A senior Democratic aide said before the meeting that “Democrats want parity in increases between defense and nondefense, and want to avoid sequestration at all costs.”

Yarmuth said that there seemed to be some consensus at Tuesday's meeting about putting overall defense spending at $733 billion, $17 billion below the administration’s request.
 
House appropriators on Tuesday marked up their defense spending bill based on the $733 billion, which includes both a cap increase and off-book spending.
 
Updated at 4:15 p.m.