debt limit

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Congress Set for Horse-Trading Over Must-Pass Bills in September
“Clean” debt limit increase will likely require Democrats’ support

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said a clean debt ceiling increase appears unlikely to pass without “more more increased spending and must-pass legislation to attract the necessary votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ September agenda is packed with several must-pass bills that Republicans and Democrats are likely to look to as leverage for extracting concessions on other priorities.

With a short legislative calendar next month — only 12 days when both chambers are scheduled to be in session (the Senate has a few extra days on its timetable) — some measures could be packaged together, creating even more leverage and risk. 

Will GOP Settle for a Clean Debt Limit Win?
No other legislative victories in sight

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin arrives for a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled “Domestic and International Policy Update,” on May 18, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Both repelling and wallowing in a manufactured crisis are surefire ways for the Capitol to put itself in the headlines. That’s why some fresh drama fabrication is getting underway, even before the lawmakers have decided if their response will be crisply responsible or melodramatically craven.

This morality play will be about the federal debt, which is not going anywhere except up in the near term, no matter what anyone in Washington says or does to the contrary.

Debt Ceiling Deadline Falls in Trump’s First 100 Days but Fix May Not
Conservatives prepping deficit reduction plans to pair with any increase

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert is working on deficit reduction proposals that members say could be paired with an increase in the debt ceiling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Republicans about to have unified control of the government ready their 100-day agenda, one thing is notably missing: a plan for addressing the government’s borrowing authority when the current debt limit suspension expires on March 15.

Congress suspended the debt ceiling as part of a budget deal former Speaker John A. Boehner negotiated before leaving office in the fall of 2015. When the suspension lifts, the cap will need to be raised or suspended again for the United States to avoid default.

Ryan on Border Wall: ‘You Have to Have Physical Barriers’
Speaker says he and Trump are ‘on the same page’ on border security

Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he and Donald Trump are “on the same page” with regard to securing the border. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While they may not agree on all aspects of immigration policy, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that he and President-elect Donald Trump are “on the same page” on border security. 

“I’m in favor of securing the border. And I do believe that you have to have physical barriers on the border,” the Wisconsin Republican told Fox News’ Bret Baier, when asked if he supports Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border. “I will defer to the experts on the border as to what is the right way to actually secure the border.”

Trump Not the First to Play Politics With National Debt
Obama, Ryan among those to have voted against debt limit increases

Donald Trump's recent comments about possibly renegotiating the national debt have raised eyebrows. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump is getting heat for saying he might take steps as president that would put the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy.  

"People said I want to go and buy debt and default on debt, and I mean, these people are crazy. This is the United States government," Trump clarified Monday on CNN . "You never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK?"  

Roberts, McConnell Announce Crop Insurance Fix

Roberts joined GOP leaders on the floor to discuss crop insurance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:57 p.m. | Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts has assurances from his leadership to reverse crop insurance cutbacks in the budget and debt limit deal that's currently on the Senate floor.  

"This commitment is in reference to the obvious need to remedy the language adversely affected our nation's farmers and ranchers now included in the bipartisan budget act," the Kansas Republican said Thursday.  

With Little Suspense, Budget Deal Heads to the Senate

McConnell has insisted the government won't shut down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:48 p.m. | The 2015 debt limit standoff is on track to end with a whimper.  

Other than the days of speeches, it's probably over. The Senate might not even have to work over the weekend. With the House voting 266-167 Wednesday to pass a budget agreement that provides for the suspension of the debt limit into 2017, all that would be left is for the Senate to act and clear the measure for President Barack Obama's signature.  

Can Paul Ryan Keep the Manure Out of the House Barn?

Ryan walks through Statuary Hall to Boehner's office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:10 p.m. | Rep. Paul D. Ryan may agree with his conservative colleagues about the way the budget deal was cooked up — it “stinks,” he told NBC News — but its passage sets the speaker-in-waiting up to tackle the multitude of challenges ahead.  

The budget agreement should give the new speaker some breathing space to foster an environment of empowering committees and members, at least until the beginning of December. But the fact that Boehner, in his final news conference as speaker, agreed with the Wisconsin Republican that the process of arriving at the two-year budget agreement and debt limit increase was broken illustrates just how challenging Ryan's new assignment really is.  

Corralling the Votes for Budget Deal

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:27 a.m. | Even before Tuesday morning's GOP conference meeting to sell the bipartisan budget agreement got underway, Rep. Tom Cole and others were already making their pitch.  

The Oklahoma Republican and longtime ally of retiring Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had a message particularly for what he called "the vote no, hope yes crowd" of House Republicans who would want to see a big deal go through without having to use their individual cards to vote in favor of it.