US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he and congressional leaders had discussed the possibility of jettisoning a long-standing cap on US government debt, saying it is not really needed.
Trump met at the White House with congressional leaders from both parties and overruled Republicans and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who wanted a longer-term debt-limit extension rather than the three-month Democratic proposal the president embraced.
“It could be discussed,” Trump told reporters as he sat down to meet with the ruler of Kuwait. “It complicates things. It’s really not necessary.”
On Wednesday Trump agreed with Democratic leaders in Congress on a three-month extension of the debt ceiling tied to hurricane relief legislation and funding for government operations into December.
The Washington Post, citing three people familiar with the decision, said Trump and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer had also agreed to work toward a permanent debt-limit repeal.
Trump and Schumer, along with House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, would work on a plan over the next few months to remove the need for Congress to periodically raise the limit, the newspaper reported.
“The president encouraged congressional leaders to find a more permanent solution to the debt ceiling so the vote is not so frequently politicized,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, when asked about the Post report.
Any measure would still have to pass both the House and the Senate, both currently controlled by Republicans. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he opposes any effort to do away with the role of Congress in approving increases to the federal debt limit.