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Trump Blames Republican Leaders for Creating Debt Ceiling 'Mess'

  • VOA News

FILE - President Donald Trump, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, left, and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, speaks during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, June 6, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on members of his Republican Party on Thursday, this time lashing out at them for creating a "mess" of the debt ceiling legislation process.

In a series of tweets, Trump scolded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan for not attaching debt ceiling legislation to a recently signed bill that aims to assist veterans.

If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by the end of September, the federal government may not be able to pay some of its bills, a situation some economists predict could be catastrophic. Separately, a measure to keep the federal government open once appropriations run out on September 30 must also be passed.

The deadlines represent a showdown for Trump, who has repeatedly clashed with Republicans over budget priorities. This week, Trump threatened to shut down the government if Congress did not provide funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, one of his key campaign promises.

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his visit to Intel in Hillsboro, Ore., Aug. 23, 2017. Ryan used his visit to the technology giant to talk about tax reform.
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his visit to Intel in Hillsboro, Ore., Aug. 23, 2017. Ryan used his visit to the technology giant to talk about tax reform.

At a news briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to say whether the president would sign a budget bill that did not include funding for the wall.

Sanders also downplayed friction between the White House and congressional Republicans.

"I think the relationships are fine," she said. "Certainly, there are going to be some policy differences, but there are also going to be some shared goals, and that's what we're focused on."

Trump's relationship with McConnell, in particular, has deteriorated, according to recent reports, especially after the Senate failed to repeal or replace the signature health care bill of former President Barack Obama.

The reports said McConnell and Trump have not spoken since earlier this month, when they were said to have engaged in a shouting match during a phone conversation about legislative priorities. The offices of both men have since put out statements downplaying the tensions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks during the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast, Aug. 24, 2017, in Louisville, Ky.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks during the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast, Aug. 24, 2017, in Louisville, Ky.

Earlier this month, McConnell maintained that Congress and the White House would not allow the government to default on its debt. "There is zero chance — no chance — we won't raise the debt ceiling," he said at an event in his home state of Kentucky.

Some conservatives in Congress say they will not support a debt ceiling bill unless it also contains budget cuts. But Sanders said Thursday that Trump was open to raising the debt ceiling without additional provisions.

When they return from their August recess, lawmakers will have only 12 days on the legislative calendar to address the debt limit.

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