President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed Wednesday to extend both the country’s debt limit and government funding to Dec. 15, as well as aid states devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said he had a “very good meeting” with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. He didn’t mention Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker Paul Ryan, both of whom attended the meeting and reportedly wanted a longer extension on the debt limit.
“We have an extension, which will go out to Dec. 15. That will include the debt ceiling, that will include the CRs, and it will include Harvey,” Trump said. “CR” refers to a continuing resolution, or stopgap budget.
Opinion: Trump’s deal with ‘Chuck and Nancy’ may improve chances for his legislative agenda.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had urged Congress to raise the borrowing limit by Sept. 29 to avoid default. On Sept. 30, current government funding expires and without new spending approved, the government would partially shut down.
Asked on Capitol Hill if he was surprised Trump had sided with Democrats in backing a short extension of the debt ceiling, McConnell said “the president can speak for himself.
“But his feeling was, we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis.”
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, said the deal will help the administration to focus on tax reform. Trump spoke Wednesday on a tax overhaul in North Dakota.
“I think [the deal] puts pressure on all of us to get tax reform done before December,” Short told reporters on Air Force One en route to North Dakota.
Earlier Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a package of Hurricane Harvey aid. The legislation may be used to authorize an increase in the borrowing limit, once it is amended and voted on in the Senate.
Republicans had reportedly sought to extend the borrowing limit beyond the 2018 midterm elections. Schumer and Pelosi sent out a statement about the deal with Trump just hours after Ryan criticized the idea of tying a short-term debt-ceiling increase to Harvey aid.
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