Republicans may have spent the better part of President Barack Obama’sadministration clamoring about the importance of the debt ceiling, but that hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump’s treasury secretary from denigrating the very notion that debt ceilings matter.
When talking to Axios on Friday, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin referred to a debt ceiling as a “somewhat ridiculous concept.” He also told Axios’ Mike Allen that “this isn’t limit of what we can spend, it’s a payment limitation.” He also insisted that Congress raise the debt ceiling before the summer recess.
“The debt limit was invented nearly 100 years ago to free Congress from having to approve each new debt issuance,” writes Christopher Matthews of Axios. “Instead, it gives Treasury the freedom to issue debt up to a certain level to make the financing of already approved spending more efficient.”
The debt ceiling featured prominently in American politics during the autumn of 2013, when congressional Republicans caused a government shutdown for 16 days in their effort to gut President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. This came on the heels of similar talk about using the debt ceiling as a political tool, particularly in 2011 and 2012 — and Donald Trump had been very much in favor of doing so at the time.
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