Pelosi: No debt limit increase to reward rich

Andrew Taylor
Associated Press

Washington — Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi says that GOP leaders shouldn’t take for granted that Democrats will vote to increase the government’s borrowing cap.

Pelosi told reporters Friday that she has no “intention of supporting lifting the debt ceiling to enable the Republicans to give another tax break to the wealthy.”

Her remarks came as the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are grappling to develop a strategy for a debt limit measure that could advance next month. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is pressing for a debt limit measure that’s free of other legislation that could interfere with its passage, but other Republicans, such as White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and House conservative groups such as the Freedom Caucus, want to use the measure as an opportunity to advance spending cuts.

“We’re not there to lift the debt ceiling to enable Republicans to throw a few crumbs to the middle class while there’s a big tax break to the high end,” Pelosi said.

During former President Barack Obama’s recent tenure, Pelosi supported debt increases that were “clean” of add-ons by Republicans. Republicans in 2011 managed to coerce Obama into accepting about $2 trillion in deficit cuts as a condition for increasing the debt limit — though lawmakers have since rolled back some of those cuts.

It’s generally assumed that Republicans and the Trump administration will have to turn to Democrats for votes to increase the government’s almost $20 trillion debt cap — and avert a catastrophic default on U.S. obligations.

Mnuchin warned lawmakers last month that they should increase the government’s debt limit before going on their annual August recess. Other analysts such as the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, say the due date for a debt extension is likely sometime this fall.