MCCONNELL: Democrats ‘spiked the ball in the end zone a little too early’ on their deal with Trump

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Mitch McConnell Evan Vucci/AP Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested in an interview published Tuesday that Democrats may have celebrated excessively over their fiscal deal with President Donald Trump.

In an interview with The New York Times, McConnell said he had a hand in the deal cut Trump cut with Democratic leaders that — among other things — suspended the debt ceiling until December 8.

“Since I was in charge of drafting the debt ceiling provision that we inserted into the flood bill we likely, almost certainly, are not going to have another debt ceiling discussion until well into 2018,” McConnell told the Times.

The Kentucky senator said he wrote the bill in such a way that the Treasury Department would be able to refill their stores — so that when the debt ceiling is reimposed in December, the Treasury can use so-called extraordinary measures.

The measures allow the Treasury to maintain the federal debt below the ceiling for an extended period of time. For instance, the federal government technically hit the debt ceiling in March but was able to prevent a possible default until the end of September.

By replenishing the measures, the Treasury can extend the “X-date,” or the date when the government defaults, until March at least — and possibly as far out as the summer of 2018, analysts say.

Democrats were hoping to use the cluster of must-pass legislation in December to achieve legislative victories, such as codifying the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The extension of the debt ceiling out of December robs them of perhaps their opportunity to score a win.

McConnell said Democrats “spiked the ball in the end zone a little too early” on the deal and it was “not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was,” referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Read more from the interview at the New York Times »