Pelosi keeps focus on budget caps in debt limit call to Mnuchin

Nancy Pelosi at a press conference. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that the US should spend as much taxpayer money on non-defence programmes as it does on the Pentagon, suggesting that their Saturday phone call address the debt limit also included the finer points of a budget agreement.

In a brief letter to Mnuchin published Saturday, Pelosi said the US$22 billion needed over the next two years to implement the VA MISSION Act, which aims to give veterans more health-care options, should be factored into the two-year budget deal the parties are negotiating along with raising the debt limit.

“We all agree on the need to address the debt limit, but we also must reach an agreement on spending priorities based upon the principle of parity as soon as possible,” Pelosi said in the letter, referring to parity between defence and non-defence discretionary spending.

A statement from Pelosi’s office said she will speak with Mnuchin again on Monday.

Saturday’s conversation follows several phone calls between the two last week after new revenue projections accelerated the date at which the US risks defaulting on payment obligations.