In what was described as a “gentlemen's agreement,” President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will join forces to save Congress from needing to continually renew the debt limit.
According to three sources familiar with the matter, Trump, Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) planned to spend the next few months developing a plan for repeal, something Senate Democrats hoped to finalize by December. The agreement took place, according to The Washington Post, during a Wednesday meeting at the White House.
This rare act of bipartisanship might upset Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) who opposed both altering the debt limit process and the three-month debt ceiling extension that Trump, on Wednesday, agreed on with Congressional Democrats.
Repealing the debt ceiling requirement would seem to follow Trump's goal of finding a permanent solution to the debt ceiling.
“The president encouraged congressional leaders to find a more permanent solution to the debt ceiling so the vote is not so frequently politicized,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Congress has the responsibility of raising the debt limit, but that decision is often highly politicized and can cause turbulence in markets. In an interview Thursday with The New York Times, Ryan said that in fear of the panic potentially thrust on investors, he preferred a long-term hike in the debt ceiling as opposed to the short-term deal Trump struck with Schumer and Pelosi.
Yet, it's unclear whether Ryan and his Republican colleagues will vote for the debt ceiling repeal in time for Congress to address the issue before the government stops funding itself in mid-December. Adding to the uncertainty surrounding the legislation, Pelosi indicated Trump would sign an immigration bill, known as the DREAM Act, as part of a broader legislative agenda that included addressing the debt ceiling.
Because most conservatives oppose the DREAM Act as a form of amnesty, a debt ceiling bill tied to the DREAM Act might face significant hurdles in making it to the president's desk.