Psaki: Biden 'believes' Congress will lift debt limit despite spending battle

Psaki: Biden 'believes' Congress will lift debt limit despite spending battle

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions On The Money: Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds | Trump tells Republicans to walk away | GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden MORE said Monday that President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE expects Congress to lift the legal limit on the federal debt despite a looming battle with Republicans over spending.

During a Monday White House briefing, Psaki told reporters that Biden believes lawmakers will once again prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, after legislators raised or suspended the debt ceiling three times under former President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE.

“The president believes that Congress will do what they've done three times during the Trump administration, which is to raise the debt ceiling,” Psaki said.

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“We know that that will be a central focus and discussion, probably even in here, come the fall, but he expects they will do what they've done three times [under Trump].”

The legal limit on how much debt the U.S. government can hold is set to kick back in on Aug. 1, giving Biden and Congress less than two months to either raise or suspend the debt ceiling.

Republican lawmakers agreed to lift the debt ceiling three times under Trump but have warned Democrats that they will not do so again unless Democrats agree to spending cuts or other debt reduction measures.

“I’d say it’s unlikely,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, when asked if there are enough Republicans who support raising the debt ceiling.

Democrats should have little trouble passing a debt ceiling hike or suspension through the House, which is controlled by Democrats and can pass legislation with a simple majority. But Republicans could still block the measure in the Senate unless at least 10 GOP senators support the bill.

Without Republican support, Democrats could try to raise the debt ceiling through budget reconciliation, the process used to pass the March COVID-19 relief bill with only simple majorities in both chambers. But Democrats are planning to use reconciliation to advance portions of Biden’s infrastructure and social support proposals, which could complicate raising the debt ceiling through that process.

The Treasury Department will be able to stave off a default for at least several weeks even if Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling by Aug. 1. But it’s unclear how long the Treasury could use so-called extraordinary measures to prevent a default.