President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have reportedly agreed to seek a deal that would end the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that it had confirmed the decision with three people familiar with it.
The two men first discussed the idea during a Wednesday meeting at the Oval Office, with a person knowledge of the talks describing it as a “gentleman’s agreement.”
Trump, Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agreed to work together during the next few months to see if they can finalize a plan for approval by Congress.
The Post reported that Senate Democrats are hopeful that they complete a definitive pact with Trump by December.
“The President encouraged Congressional leaders to find a more permanent solution to the debt ceiling so the vote is not so frequently politicized,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
The Post’s three sources all spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss Wednesday’s huddle.
Another person familiar with the event told The Post that Vice President Pence voiced willingness to changes he viewed as consistent with the so-called “Gephardt Rule.”
The rule is a parliamentary measure making it easier to link raising the debt ceiling with Congress passing a budget.
Former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO), who also served as House majority leader, is the lawmaker whose name the rule refers to.
Trump stunned GOP leadership Wednesday by siding with their Democratic counterparts on a pact to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and fund the federal government through December.
Democrats announced the move moments after the House passed a first installment of relief for areas recently hurt by Hurricane Harvey.
The package contained about $8 billion in disaster aid in response to Harvey, and it passed through the House 419 to 3, with all three “no” votes coming from Republicans.
Democrats earlier Wednesday had offered to support the three-month debt limit increase alongside Harvey relief funds.
The federal government’s spending outpaces the money it collects from taxes and fees, and it covers the discrepancy by issuing debt to borrow funds.
The debt limit or debt ceiling is the limit at which the government can no longer borrow money by issuing debt.
Congress has repeatedly raised the ceiling as the government scrapes against it, but the votes are often fiercely partisan and cause economic uncertainty.
Investors have warned that the stock market could crash if the government falls behind on its obligations and is incapable of borrowing more money.