World

Trump seals surprising debt limit deal with Democrats

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump forged a surprising deal with Democrats in Congress yesterday to extend the United States debt limit and provide government funding until Dec 15, embracing his political adversaries and blindsiding fellow Republicans in a rare bipartisan accord.

Mr Trump, living up to his reputation for unpredictability, met with congressional leaders from both parties at the White House and overruled Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who wanted a longer-term debt-limit extension rather than the three-month Democratic proposal the president embraced.

"We could have done a one-year deal today," Mr Mnuchin told reporters aboard Air Force One later in the day.

Mr Mnuchin said Mr Trump chose a short-term deal to keep his options open on possibly raising military funding later this year, suggesting a longer-term government funding deal might have blocked that.

Mr Trump is very focused on military spending, "particularly with what's going on in North Korea and other parts of the world today," Mr Mnuchin said.

"The president wasn't willing to give up his need for additional military spending."

If passed by the Republican-led Congress, the three-month agreement would avert an unprecedented default on US government debt, keep the government funded at the outset of the fiscal year beginning Oct 1 and provide aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey. - REUTERS

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