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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerIlhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (N.Y.) told reporters after meeting with Congress’s three other party leaders and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE’s senior advisers.


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 ThuneTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Public impeachment hearings to begin next week MORE (S.D.), who did not participate in Tuesday's meeting in Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate Siren song of impeachment lures Democrats toward election doom 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 McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Nunes pressed on Fox News about comparing impeachment inquiry to a 'coup' MORE (R-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNew book questions Harris's record on big banks On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive MORE, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney to file separate suit to fight impeachment subpoena Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment 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 YarmuthKentucky Democrat: McConnell's agenda driven by 'power without a purpose' Top Democrat: Getting Trump off the ballot wouldn't benefit party Kentucky Democrat: 'There's a shot' McConnell could be vulnerable in 2020 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.