Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated on Monday that he is not concerned about Democrats gaining leverage as a result of their deal with President Donald Trump to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government through mid-December.
“Let’s put it this way,” McConnell told the New York Times podcast “The New Washington.” “The deal is not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was.”
McConnell said that he wrote the legislation to raise the debt ceiling in a way that would allow the Treasury secretary to use “extraordinary measures” and shift government funds around in order to extend the debt ceiling into 2018. Moving a vote on the debt ceiling back a few months would reduce the leverage Democrats have on a deal to fund the government in December. McConnell told the New York Times that he wrote the bill this way over objections from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“Since I was in charge of drafting the debt ceiling provision that we inserted into the flood bill we likely — almost certainly — are not going to have another debt ceiling discussion until well into 2018,” McConnell told the Times. “One of the advantages of being the majority leader is you control the paper.”
Trump angered conservatives in Congress when he came to an agreement with Democratic leaders last week to tie legislation to raise the debt limit and fund the government through mid-December to funding for Hurricane Harvey. Republicans who believe any debt limit hike should be paired with budget cuts were irked by the deal, as well as by White House officials’ attempt to sell the bill.