McConnell: no debt ceiling vote till 2018


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday described the Pelosi-Schumer deal as “not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was.” The Kentucky senator went on to explain why the debt ceiling issue will not have to be tackled until the first half of 2018.

“One of the advantages of being the majority leader is you control the paper,” McConnell said on Monday referring to the deal President Trump struck with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last week to increase the debt ceiling until mid-December and provide funding for the many victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Critics lambasted the president for agreeing to lift the federal borrowing limit for a mere three months as the Democrats demanded. The Republicans were hoping not to have to look at the debt ceiling for the next six or even 18 months.

However, President Trump is the one having the last laugh. Unbeknown to the Democrats, McConnell was intent on drafting the debt-ceiling provision in a way that would not provide much leverage to the opposition in the months to come.

“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 stressed before explaining that the provision had been phrased in such a way to enable Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to creatively transfer cash from government accounts to delay reaching the debt ceiling.

“I wrote it in such a way that it does not prevent what is frequently done, which is the use of extraordinary measures. The minority leader and his team were trying to get us not to write it that way, but I did write it that way and that is the way it passed,” he pointed out.

The Senate majority leader did not confirm whether President Trump was aware of his cunning plan before he sided with Pelosi and Schumer to move things along last week. However, it is quite safe to assume that the president knew that his decision to reach across the aisle would not endanger the implementation of this agenda.

President Trump and Schumer are reported to have also expressed a mutual desire to scrap the debt ceiling and are understood to have agreed to work together on the issue.

“For many years people have been talking about getting rid of the debt ceiling altogether. Certainly that is something that could be discussed. We even discussed it at the meeting we had yesterday,” the president said last week.