Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has quietly requested Congress to “raise the federal debt limit at the first opportunity.” Notably, Mnuchin does not propose offsetting the debt limit increase with spending cuts or tax increases.
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) March 9, 2017
Mnuchin’s letter is effectively the opposite of the policy Trump pledged to pursue as president.
In 2011, Trump said that if he were president would “wouldn’t raise” the debt limit and instead “make a deal.” Trump promised to “stop [the debt] right now.”
In a tweet, Trump said that “there is no revenue problem” and that “the debt limit cannot be raised” until Congress cuts spending and balances the budget.
Congress is back.TIME TO CUT, CAP AND BALANCE.There is no revenue problem.The Debt Limit cannot be raised until Obama spending is contained.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2011
Obama’s call to increase the debt limit without draconian cuts to spending was “destroying our country,” Trump said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2011
During the 2016 campaign, Trump hewed to this view, saying that the debt limit must be used as a weapon to force spending cuts. Trump said he would be “very very strong on the debt limit” and insist on “a very big pound of flesh” before agreeing to any increase.
Now that Trump is president, his approach is the complete opposite. Via Mnuchin, Trump is asking Congress to raise the debt limit without demanding any spending cuts in return.
Instead he is seeking to enact a new health care plan (with no funding mechanism), a massive military spending increase and, in the near future, a massive tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.
Asked about the request to raise the debt ceiling on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the issue was “beyond our control.”