Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested in an interview published Tuesday that Democrats might have celebrated excessively over their fiscal deal with President Donald Trump.
“Since I was in charge of drafting the debt-ceiling provision that we inserted into the flood bill we likely – almost certainly – are not going to have another debt-ceiling discussion until well into 2018,” McConnell told The Times.
The Kentucky senator said he wrote the bill in such a way that the Treasury Department would be able to refill its stores – so that in December, the Treasury can use so-called extraordinary measures, which allow it to maintain the federal debt below the ceiling for an extended period.
For instance, the federal government technically hit the debt ceiling in March but used the measures to prevent any default until the end of September.
By replenishing the measures, the Treasury can extend the “X-date,” when the government defaults, to March at least – and possibly as far as the summer of 2018, analysts say.
Democrats were hoping to use the cluster of must-pass legislation in December to achieve legislative victories, such as codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The extension of the debt ceiling past December could rob them of an opportunity to score a win.
McConnell said that Democrats “spiked the ball in the end zone a little too early” on the deal and that it was “not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was,” referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.