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 SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (N.Y.) told reporters after meeting with Congress’s three other party leaders and President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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 ThuneSchumer blasts 'red flag' gun legislation as 'ineffective cop out' Lawmakers jump-start talks on privacy bill Trump border fight throws curveball into shutdown prospects MORE (S.D.), who did not participate in Tuesday's meeting in Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence 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 McConnellDemocrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic field narrows with Inslee exit McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump's latest plan to undermine Social Security Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report 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 YarmuthWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Trump signs two-year budget deal 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.