Some House Freedom Caucus conservatives want to raise the debt ceiling by a smaller amount than the Trump administration would like — just long enough to clear the 2018 mid-term elections, the group’s leader said Tuesday.
The Freedom Caucus has not taken an official position on a specific number. But Chairman Mark Meadows emerged from a group meeting Tuesday night saying some of his conservative colleagues are looking at a $1.5 trillion lift in the nation’s borrowing cap.
The North Carolina Republican said that’s smaller than the $2.5 trillion he believes the White House wants.
“The White House wants $2.5 trillion, is what I heard. We’re more in the $1.5 trillion range,” Meadows said. “It’s not an official position, but some members of the Freedom Caucus have been discussing $1.5 trillion as a specific amount in a debt ceiling increase.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling before the August recess, leaving Republicans just a few weeks to cobble together a plan. Freedom Caucus members want to address the matter before the recess, but they’re asking for spending reforms and debt-payment prioritization to accompany any lift in the nation’s borrowing limit.
GOP leaders, however, have all but thrown out that idea and are signaling that they’re more likely to work with Democrats since the debt ceiling has to pass the Senate, meaning it will need eight Democratic votes.
While few have discussed numbers, let alone settled on a plan, Meadows suggested the $1.5 trillion would push the deadline for addressing the contentious issue again past the mid-term elections.