Senate Republicans are signaling that they are content to sit out the looming debt limit debate — for now.
The latest debate over raising the federal debt limit is looming in Washington, but Senate Republicans are signaling they are content to sit out the negotiations — for now.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he doesn’t anticipate any movement on the issue until the end of the year, when the Treasury Department is expected to hit the current debt ceiling.
“We’d like to get to the point where we can address the debt limit issue in a responsible way,” McConnell told reporters. “But right now, we’re going to leave that until we get closer to the end of the year because it’s a very complicated issue. So, I don’t expect any debt limit action in the near term.”
McConnell’s comments come as the federal government is expected to hit the current debt ceiling of $20.5 trillion by the end of the year. Congress has routinely raised the debt ceiling in the past, but the issue has become increasingly contentious in recent years as Republicans have sought to tie the issue to spending cuts or other fiscal reforms.
McConnell’s comments also come amid a new push from the White House and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to raise the debt limit. Mnuchin has warned that the Treasury will not be able to pay some of its obligations if Congress does not raise the debt limit by the end of the year. But McConnell and other Senate Republicans appear wary of the White House’s proposal, and instead are focusing their efforts on other issues, such as tax reform and health care.
“We’re going to focus on other things that have been a priority for us and see where we go from there,” McConnell said. The debt limit debate has been a source of contention in the past, and it’s likely to be no different this time around. It remains to be seen how Senate Republicans will approach the issue when it comes time to vote on raising the debt limit. But for now, McConnell and the Senate GOP are content to sit it out and focus on other matters.