WASHINGTON- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Congress will raise the debt ceiling but that he is not sure when lawmakers will act.
“We’ll be talking to the Secretary of the Treasury about timing, obviously we will raise the debt ceiling,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
The current debt ceiling was set in late 2015 and if Congress does act by midnight on Thursday the government may lose its ability to borrow money.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote a letter to Congressional leaders last week urging them to expeditiously act to raise the debt ceiling.
“As you know, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 suspended the statutory debt limit through Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Beginning on Thursday, March 16, 2017, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit,” Mnuchin wrote.
“At that time, Treasury anticipates that it will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures in order to temporarily prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations,” he added.
Mnuchin explained in the letter that for the time being the emergency measures will include suspending the sale of various state and local securities that are backed by the U.S. Treasury and may exacerbate the national debt.
The fight over raising the debt ceiling could lead to a government shutdown as more conservative Republicans have asked for additional entitlement cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have insisted the legislation to raise the ceiling be void of ideological provisions.
The national debt is fast approaching $20 trillion with China being the nation’s largest creditor.
Congress is expected to raise the debt ceiling sometime before next fall so as to make sure the government does not default on its financial obligations.