Mnuchin: Government to stay open into September without debt limit increase

Federal government operations will keep running through the beginning of September even if lawmakers don’t raise the debt ceiling before their August recess, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today.

Mnuchin said Congress should increase the limit on federal borrowing before the annual break, repeating a recommendation he has frequently made in recent weeks. But he said the department could resort to backup plans to get through August.

“However, markets don’t want us to wait,” he said at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing.

Mnuchin, who called himself the Trump administration’s point-person on the issue, declined to offer a more specific date range when Treasury would exhaust extraordinary measures to keep from defaulting. But he said he would provide updates based on receipts if Congress doesn’t act beforehand.

Lawmakers should raise the debt limit independent of budget and spending disagreements, Mnuchin said. But he did come out in favor of tying them together on the calendar.

“My suggestion at some point going forward is that Congress considers changing the timing so that the debt ceiling matches the budget process so we don’t have to deal with this in this format,” Mnuchin said.

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