Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday called for Republicans and Democrats to work together to raise the debt ceiling, just after he and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said both he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer participated in the meeting with Mnuchin, who has said the nation's borrowing limit must be raised in September.
"We are going to be looking for a way forward to do that together, to make sure America continues to never, ever default," said McConnell, R-Ky.
Raising the debt ceiling, McConnell said, is something "we all know will need to be done in the next month or so." But Democrats are holding back on pledging to help the GOP pass the measure.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that the meeting lacked participation from any House leaders, particularly the Republicans who in the past have called unsuccessfully for spending cuts.
"Where are the House Republicans and where is Speaker Ryan?" Schumer said. "Before we address the debt limit, we have to know where they are at."
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suggested the debt limit would be used as a bargaining chip for the minority whose votes are needed to pass the measure thanks to typical conservative opposition.
Durbin said they could use their leverage on the debt ceiling to make gains on tax reform, where they are being excluded for now. McConnell also announced Tuesday that the GOP would push for a tax reform bill without any help from Democrats.
"We hope to have constructive conversations," Durbin said, noting Republicans have made concessions in the past when faced with critical spending deadlines.
"When they didn't want to be saddled with shutting down the government they were more attentive to bipartisan needs," Durbin said.