Ending the Debt Ceiling Drama for Good

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Sep 8 2017

President Trump said Thursday that there are “a lot of good reasons” to get rid of the debt ceiling, and he’s far from being alone in thinking that.

“Why don’t we just do away with it?" House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "We’re not going to let the government default."

The Washington Post’s editorial board wrote Friday that “Such a long-term fix is well worth pursuing. The all-too-frequent need for Congress to authorize fresh debt has become a destructive game of chicken for both parties. Without relinquishing its constitutional prerogatives, Congress should join the president in looking for a mechanism that is less likely to produce grandstanding — and threats to the nation’s financial stability.”

But while members of Congress generally dislike having to vote to raise the debt limit, they are divided about eliminating the ceiling altogether. Conservatives in particular worry about losing the leverage the debt ceiling may provide to force spending cuts.

Ultimately, the “gentlemen’s agreement” the president struck with Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer this week to pursue an end to debt ceiling drama may not involve doing away with the borrowing limit completely. In an interview with Fox News on Friday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney described a conversation he had with the president about the debt ceiling Thursday night: “We did talk about this: How do we depoliticize it? How do we make it so that it’s not sort of this precipice, this cliff, every couple of months or years? How do you make it to where it’s more of an ordinary course of business and is not yet just another divergent sort of leverage point in the process of Washington, D.C.?”

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