Don’t expect the relative fiscal peace on the Hill engendered by the budget deal to last for long. Top Republicans are already looking ahead to the next fight: the debt ceiling.
“I doubt that the House, or, for that matter, the Senate, is willing to give the president a clean debt-ceiling increase,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
McConnell appeared to defer to his House GOP counterparts to figure out what, exactly, they can extract using the leverage of the debt ceiling. “I can’t imagine it being done ‘clean,’ so we’ll have to see what the House insists on adding to it as a condition for passage.”
His comments come after House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said over the weekend that his caucus, with Senate counterparts, will have to “meet and discuss what it is we want out of the debt limit.”
“We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit,” Paul said on Fox News Sunday. “We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt-limit fight.”
Congress may not have to face the prospect of raising the country’s borrowing limit until March, or maybe even as late as June, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
McConnell, who has been relatively mum on the debt limit in the government-shutdown aftermath, still eyes the debt limit as something that Republicans can use to get something out of the administration and Democratic congressional leaders.
“Every time the president asks us to raise the debt ceiling is a good time to try and achieve something important for the country, and as you all know, many significant pieces of legislation have been attached to debt ceilings over the years,” McConnell said Tuesday. “The debt-ceiling legislation is a time that brings us all together and gets the president’s attention, which with this president in particular when it comes to reducing spending, is a bit of a challenge.”
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After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."