Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest bill is attempting to end the concept of the “debt ceiling” for good.
In an interview with “The New Washington” on Monday, McConnell revealed that provisions in his current debt ceiling bill would free the government from having another debt ceiling fight this year, and push the next consideration into late 2018. McConnell noted that, “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.”
He insisted, even the face of Democrat’s strident opposition, that his bill will pass. These key provisions would grant the Treasury more power to extend the limits of federal borrowing, by shuffling money more freely between different government accounts, and use that money to fuel borrowing. With congressional elections occurring in 2018, Republican Leadership don’t want to be engaged in a debt ceiling debate while candidates and vulnerable members of the House and Senate should be focusing on campaigning. They are also worried about the optics of a possible government shutdown.
Democratic leadership, on the other hand, was happy to take Trump’s 3-month debt extension plan (over the Republican’s original 18-month plan), although the rank and file are displeased that Trump’s deal with their leadership didn’t come with more perks for them.
Still, McConnell argues that it is beneficial to have such an option available on the table to delay the debt ceiling, and could be deployed at a later date to get the Republicans out of another jam down the road.
Praising his masterfully crafted bill, and predicting it’s passage, a triumphant McConnell bragged, “One of the advantages of being the majority leader is you control the paper … 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.”
Responding to Trump’s shocking and unexpected deal with the Democrats, McConnell punted, saying, “The president agreed with Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Pelosi to do a three-month [funding extension] and a debt ceiling into December, and that’s what I will be offering, based on the president’s decision, to the bill … The president can speak for himself, but his feeling was that we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis.”