White House, congressional leaders revive budget talks
Administration officials and congressional leaders are trying to revive long-stalled talks aimed at striking a budget deal and avoiding a government shutdown in the fall.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiObama shows off custom US women’s soccer jersey to celebrate World Cup win The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump under pressure to jettison Labor secretary High anxiety hits Senate over raising debt ceiling MORE (D-Calif.) is expected to hold discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump under pressure to jettison Labor secretary High anxiety hits Senate over raising debt ceiling UK prime minster supports ambassador under fire from Trump MORE on Wednesday, marking the second day of talks after the two first spoke on the phone Tuesday about raising statutory spending caps and the debt ceiling.
Pelosi has been guarded about saying whether the renewed talks will lead to a breakthrough after negotiations between Democrats, GOP leadership and the White House stalled last month.
Asked if progress was made during Tuesday’s phone call with Mnuchin, Pelosi told The Associated Press, “We’ll see.”
“It’s possible. I don’t know. We’ll see what they come back with,” she said when asked about the prospects of a deal coming together this month.
In addition to the Pelosi-Mnuchin talks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP lawmaker has ‘a lot of concerns’ over coverage if ObamaCare is overturned Democratic challenger to McConnell raises .5 million on first day of campaign Booker: McConnell has no understanding of racial issues after slaveholder comment MORE (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyPennsylvania Republican expected to replace Amash on Oversight Amash resigns from House GOP conference, Oversight panel New CBO report fuels fight over minimum wage MORE (R-Calif.) are expected to meet later Wednesday with Mnuchin, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyHere are the top paid White House staffers On The Money: GOP raises concerns about White House plan to avoid shutdown | Trump pushes Fed to weaken dollar | Trade deficit spikes | Dow, S&P, Nasdaq set record highs Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown MORE and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought — the three officials who have been leading the negotiations for the White House.
The meeting comes as lawmakers attempt to kick-start negotiations and move a package that would increase the spending caps and raise the debt ceiling before August. That timeline leaves little room for negotiations, with House lawmakers scheduled to leave town in late July and the Senate slated to adjourn by Aug. 2.
Congress is juggling multiple funding deadlines: Lawmakers have until the end of September to pass a bill that would fund the government and prevent another shutdown. They also might need to raise the debt ceiling as soon as early September, an anxiety-raising schedule because lawmakers won’t return from the August recess until Sept. 9.
They also need to get a deal to increase the defense and nondefense spending caps. Without an agreement, steep across-the-board cuts will be implemented in January.
Senate Republicans signaled on Tuesday that they viewed this week as crucial to getting Democrats and the White House talking again if they were going to get the prospects of a deal, that would tackle both the budget and the debt ceiling, back on track.
“We’ll be trying to reconvene that soon because the House is only in for three more weeks and time is running out. And if we’re going to avoid having an either short or long-term CR [continuing resolution] or either a short or long-term debt ceiling increase, it’s time that we got serious on a bipartisan basis,” McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference.