White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders looks on during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2019. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders looks on during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2019. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP)
Now playing
01:53
White House holds briefing amid shutdown fears
Joe Manchin
CNN
Joe Manchin
Now playing
02:03
'I never thought in my life ...' Why Manchin won't walk away from bipartisanship
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Now playing
06:11
'Bombastic, antagonistic, unapologetic': A look at Gaetz's political career
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Michael A. McCoy/AP
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Now playing
02:42
Boehner says Republican colleague held 10-inch knife to his throat outside House floor
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Now playing
02:05
Biden calls for ban on assault weapons
CNN
Now playing
02:22
Biden: High-speed internet is infrastructure
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:24
Donald Trump breaks his silence on Matt Gaetz
CNN/WLOX
Now playing
01:43
'He says the quiet part out loud': Borger reacts to GOP election official's remark
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:30
Haberman: Trump had to be talked out of defending Matt Gaetz
CNN
Now playing
03:26
Georgia's Lt. governor says elections law was a result of Trump's misinformation
Now playing
02:38
GOP lawmakers can't give examples of why states need anti-transgender sports bills
CNN
Now playing
03:04
Avlon reacts to McConnell's advice to corporations
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06:  U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:12
'Smarten up': Biden admonishes states' restrictive voting laws
WAVE
Now playing
01:27
'It's stupid': McConnell's warning for corporate America
reality check thumb
reality check thumb
Now playing
02:48
John Avlon breaks down fraud claims among Trump donors
Now playing
06:22
Key figure in Gaetz extortion claims responds
(CNN) —  

An influential Republican senator is urging President Donald Trump to up the ante in talks over his border wall: To push for an increase in the national debt limit as part of a legislative package to avert another government shutdown in mid-February.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the President, told CNN that he spoke with Trump at dinner Monday night about “what would a good deal look like” as lawmakers attempt to negotiate an agreement to stave off another government shutdown – and floated the possibility that raising the debt limit could be part of the negotiation.

Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, said he is “hopeful we can solve more than one problem” and added “I think the President understands we need to raise the debt ceiling. It comes due in March, so why not just expedite things.”

Taking such a step would amount to a dramatic move by the President: He could dare Democrats to block funding for the border wall and risk sending the country into default in the process. Graham said agreeing to one big package could clear the decks of the thorny issues facing Congress in the weeks ahead.

Congressional negotiators are racing against the clock to strike a deal that would avert another shutdown after the President signed into law a stopgap funding bill last week that put an end to the longest federal government shutdown in US history. The shutdown was triggered by a standoff between congressional Democrats and the President over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall, which Democrats have refused to agree to.

It is unclear whether a deal can be struck to avoid the government shutting down once again as the President remains firm in his demand. The stopgap bill to reopen government provides funding through February 15, leaving a narrow window for negotiation.

Sometime in the second half of 2019, the Treasury Department will lose the ability to borrow if Congress and the President can’t agree on how to get around the cap. The current suspension of the debt ceiling, which was quietly agreed to last year, will expire on March 1. But the Treasury will be able to cover its bills at least into mid-summer by moving money around — a series of maneuvers formally designated “extraordinary measures.”

Graham said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the case for raising the debt limit at their dinner. The senator would not discuss what Trump said about the idea.

“His wall money is necessary. His barrier money,” Graham said. “We’ve got to raise the debt ceiling in March. So Mnuchin was there telling us about that. We’ve got to come up with a budget agreement. If you want to continue to get the military refurbished and rebuild it, then we need to end the last two years of sequestration.”

He added, “so there’s a package we could put together that would solve several problems. My thought is while we’re talking about all these things that are coming due pretty soon, let’s think bigger rather than smaller.”

When asked if the President wants to include the debt ceiling as part of a broader agreement, Graham said, “I don’t speak for him. I’m just saying, we talked about a package and I think the President basically believes that his priority of barrier funding can be achieved solving other problems also.”

CNN’s Lydia DePillis contributed to this report.