Trump Berates Republican Leaders Over Debt Limit

By Susan Jones | August 24, 2017 | 9:27am EDT
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke to reporters in the White House driveway following a meeting with President Trump on the Republican agenda in February. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - President Donald Trump is criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan for not taking his advice on raising the debt ceiling.

In two tweets on Thursday morning, Trump wrote: "I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval. They didn't do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!"

Although Trump said it could have been easy, there is no guarantee the V.A. bill would have passed if it had been tied to an increase in the debt ceiling.


Raising the nation's debt limit, to pay for bills already incurred, is among the first orders of business for Congress when lawmakers return from their August recess on Sept. 5.

At a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell said, "There is zero chance, no chance we won't raise the debt ceiling. No chance. America's not going to default, and we'll get the job done in conjunction with the Secretary of the Treasury."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is insisting on a "clean" bill, without riders attached. And he says the situation is urgent.

In a March 8 letter to Speaker Ryan, Mnuchin said the outstanding debt of the United States had reached its statutory limit and that the Treasury Department would "start taking certain extraordinary measures in order to temporarily prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations."

In Kentucky on Monday, Mnuchin was quoted as saying that by the end of September, "my magic, super Treasury powers will run out."

As defined by the U.S. Treasury, the debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.

Raising the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past. 


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