Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he continues to seek a comprehensive two-year budget agreement that would lift the debt limit and set fiscal 2020 federal spending before the August congressional recess to avoid a potential mid-September government default and Oct. 1 shutdown.
“We’ll be trying to reach an agreement soon because the House is only in for three more weeks and time is running out,” McConnell said at a news conference.
Agreement by the Democrat-led House, the GOP-led Senate and the White House on a comprehensive deal is necessary to avoid the need for a stopgap funding measure and short-term debt relief.
“It’s time to get serious on a bipartisan basis,” McConnell said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday didn’t rule out a vote on a debt limit increase before the August recess, though she stressed raising nondefense spending caps for fiscal 2020 is still essential to negotiations, according to Roll Call.
“Let’s see how the conversations go,” Pelosi said. “We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America.”
The primary sticking point remains over Democratic calls for increased nondefense spending that Republican leaders oppose, according to the report.
Democratic leaders have sought $647 billion for nondefense discretionary spending in fiscal 2020 while the White House has sought to abide by a 2011 deficit-reduction law which called for $543 billion in nondefense spending.
The $100 billion nondefense spending difference and disputes over Democrats’ preferred $733 billion defense spending topline and Republicans’ preferred $750 billion topline has stymied negotiations for months.
Timing for an agreement is compressing rapidly as Congress is scheduled to be in recess for the month of August and the first week of September.
Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tia Dufour