When Congress returns to work after Labor Day, lawmakers will have just a few weeks to pass legislation increasing the federal debt limit so the treasury can pay the bills.
When legislation is considered must pass, such as raising the debt limit to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debt, lawmakers often seek to tack on unrelated matters.
“There are a lot of conservatives in the Republican Party in the House who aren’t willing to raise the debt limit unless they get a lot of concessions on cutting things like Medicare or Social Security or other entitlement programs,” says U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District.
Some in Congress want to fold in a continuing resolution and emergency aid for areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.
“I personally prefer clean debt limit legislation because the fact is that debt limit has to be increased to prevent the United States from defaulting,” says Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Both Pingree and Collins say other important spending bills should be considered separately.