Trump hits GOP leadership on debt ceiling ‘mess’
President Donald Trump continued to criticize his Republican Congress on Thursday, hitting congressional leadership on the debt ceiling legislative process, which he called “a mess.”
“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval. They didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!” he wrote in two tweets Thursday morning.
Trump is set to meet behind closed doors with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and the Office of Legislative Affairs later Thursday.
Trump’s Thursday tweets could potentially signal a new direction in administration support for raising the debt ceiling, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the President is committed to raising the debt ceiling without additional provisions added to the bill.
“It’s our job to inform Congress of the debt ceiling and it’s their job to raise it, and Congress and the previous administration have obligated trillions in spending and we need to make sure we pay our debts,” she said. “We’re still committed to making sure that gets raised.”
Asked whether that means a “clean” bill — without anything else added to the measure — Sanders said “yes.”
Mulvaney said earlier this month that the White House supports a “clean” debt ceiling increase, telling 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.”
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Congress has until the end of September to raise the debt ceiling or default on its debt, which would cause widespread financial turmoil.
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.
Minutes after Trump fired off the two tweets, McConnell praised the President at a Kentucky Farm Bureau breakfast in his home state for rolling back Obama-era regulations and the selection of Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice. McConnell did, however, note he was “a little concerned about some of the trade rhetoric” from the President.
The tweets only exacerbate the publicly deteriorating relationship between Trump and the Senate majority leader. After a failed vote to repeal Obamacare last month, the relationship soured. The two men haven’t spoken since an August 9 phone call, which CNN reported earlier this week devolved into a shouting match. There are no plans for the dueling duo to speak before Congress returns from the August recess.