The White House called on Congress Tuesday to “raise the debt ceiling as soon as possible” to promote economic growth and “fiscal discipline.”
“To ensure that we have robust economic growth and promote fiscal discipline, the Trump administration believes it’s important to raise the debt ceiling as soon as possible,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders at the Aug. 1 daily press briefing.
The U.S. national debt is close to hitting $20 trillion. The clock read $19,968,000,000,000 and counting at the time of this report.
The debt ceiling, or limit, is the total amount of money the federal government may borrow to pay for existing financial obligations, including Social Security, Medicare, military expenses, interest on the national debt, tax refunds and other expenses.
During the Obama administration, Trump criticized Republicans in Congress who sought to raise the debt ceiling, calling them “pathetic” and “the worst negotiators in history” in a series of 2013 tweets.
The Trump administration has asked members of Congress to raise the debt ceiling before their scheduled August recess.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requested a “clean” increase with no strings attached so the federal government could continue borrowing money.
Now, the federal debt is expected to hit its ceiling by this fall. Mnuchin has claimed it must be raised by Sept. 29, or the federal government will run out of money to pay its bills.
“My strong preference is for the House and the Senate to address this as soon as possible,” Mnuchin told the Senate Budget Committee, “and my preference is for you to do this before you leave for August recess.”
Meanwhile, Trump has proposed spending in fiscal year 2018 that’s much higher than limits imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Conservative have demanded serious cuts in federal spending to promote fiscal stability.
“The U.S. federal government is drowning in debt, yet continues to spend into oblivion on the backs of future taxpayers,” House Freedom Caucus members have said in a May statement. “We have an obligation to the American people to tackle Washington’s out-of-control spending and put in place measures to get our country on the right fiscal course.”
The statement continued: “In order to accomplish this end, the Freedom Caucus has taken a three-fold position: we oppose any clean raising of the debt ceiling, we call for the debt ceiling to be addressed by Congress prior to the August Recess, and we demand that any increase of the debt ceiling be paired with policy that addresses Washington’s unsustainable spending by cutting where necessary, capping where able, and working to balance in the near future.”
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters, “We are looking for a way forward.”
McConnell said he hopes Congress will raise the limit “sometime in the next month or so.”
When President Trump took office in January, WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah wrote a column on the issue of the debt ceiling headlined, “Find out what Trump’s biggest challenge may be.”
“It’s a real crisis that Obama left us with, but he was not alone,” Farah wrote. “The Republican leadership in Congress (yes, including Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell) demonstrated since they took over the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2012 that they had no desire to even stop the clock. I’m hoping Trump will.”
Farah continued: “After all, does Trump want to see the debt rise above $20 trillion on his watch? Who would?”