House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that President Trump’s administration appreciates the seriousness of the debt ceiling, and he added there won’t be any threat of defaulting on the nation’s credit.
“I’ve talked with Steve Mnuchin a few times about the debt limit, who is in charge of this as the Treasury secretary…I think I’ve spoken with Mick Mulvaney as well, who are the O.M.B. director and Treasury secretary,” Ryan told Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson in an interview. “We’ve long discussed about what the legislation looks like to deal with the debt limit. Not whether we’re going to deal with the debt limit. It’s just when and what it looks like. That’s the kinds of conversations we’re having.”
The debt ceiling is a number, set and periodically raised by Congress, which the government’s debt may not exceed. As the debt approaches its limit, Congress must act to increase the government’s borrowing authority or, experts warn, risk defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States.
Such a move could carry severe consequences for the American economy, which is why policymakers have never failed to raise the debt limit in time (despite some brinksmanship during the Obama years.)
In the interview with Face the Nation, Speaker Ryan acknowledged he had not discussed the issue with President Trump himself, but he said the Trump administration shares his view about the importance of raising the debt ceiling.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urged Congress to raise the debt limit in a letter sent last week, saying his department was already taking “extraordinary measures” to buy more time, like delaying the disbursement of pension payments and other expenditures. “As I said in my confirmation hearing, honoring the full faith and credit of our outstanding debt is a critical commitment,” Mnuchin explained. “I encourage Congress to raise the debt limit at the first opportunity so we can proceed with our joint priorities.”