April 9, 2019 / 7:58 PM / 14 days ago

Trump wants debt ceiling hike passed quickly, will not link to wall funds: Mnuchin

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the "State of the International Financial System" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is not interested in holding an increase of the debt ceiling “hostage” to force Congress to pass funding for a border wall with Mexico or any other legislation.

Mnuchin, speaking at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, urged Congress to pass a debt ceiling quickly.

A debt ceiling suspension expired in March, and the Treasury has employed extraordinary measures to continue to borrow under the limit. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that these measures would last until September or October.

Asked whether a debt ceiling increase would be “held hostage” to Trump’s demands for funding of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, Mnuchin said: “The president has no interest to holding this hostage to any issue ... The president would like to have this passed as soon as we can.”

Mnuchin also said that he was comfortable with the United States’ ability to sustain its national debt load based on current growth rates, but the government “has to be careful” on spending.

Reporting by David Lawder; Writing by Chris Prentice; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Rosalba O'Brien

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