President Donald Trump’s budget chief said on Thursday that the White House supports a “clean” debt ceiling increase, putting to rest for now concerns the Republican administration may attempt to pair the hike with spending reforms.
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters that Trump’s advisers were all in agreement with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that a debt ceiling increase should not be tied to other policy proposals.
“Steve Mnuchin speaks for the administration when it comes to the debt ceiling,” Mulvaney said. “You’ve heard that out of the President’s mouth. I respect that; in fact, I think it’s the right way to do it.”
That’s a change in tone from the White House budget chief, who earlier this summer proposed attaching policy reforms to the debt ceiling issue.
Congress has until the end of September to raise the debt ceiling or default on its debt, which would cause widespread financial turmoil.
“There’s no infighting within the administration about the debt ceiling,” Mulvaney said on Thursday.
Mnuchin met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer earlier this week to press them to move legislation increasing the nation’s borrowing authority without any conditions attached.
House Speaker Paul Ryan noted recently that he was aware of the Trump administration’s request for a clean bill, but he did not give any details on his plans for addressing the issue. But GOP leaders are well aware that because of conservative resistance they will need to pass a bill with mostly Democratic votes in the House.
Congress won’t have a lot of time when it returns from its August recess to address the debt limit. Lawmakers are only scheduled to be in session roughly a dozen days before the Treasury Department warns it could approach a possible default.
CNN’s Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.