Trump blames Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell for debt ceiling 'mess'

WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Thursday congressional leaders could have avoided a legislative "mess" if they had heeded his advice on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, renewing criticism of fellow Republicans whose support he needs to advance his policy agenda.

Trump said he had advised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan to link passage of legislation raising the debt ceiling to a measure on veterans affairs that he signed on Aug. 12.

"I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval," Trump said a in Twitter post.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after John Kelly was sworn in as White House Chief of Staff in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A television plays a news report on U.S. President Donald Trump's recent Oval Office meeting with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak as night falls on offices and the entrance of the West Wing White House in Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The White House is seen the day after U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
First Lady Melania Trump holds a baby as U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) greets members of the congress and their families as they attend a congressional picnic event at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (standing, L-R), Vice President Mike Pence and Staff Secretary Rob Porter welcomes reporters into the Oval Office for him to sign his first executive orders at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Counselor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway prepares to go on the air in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Director of the FBI James Comey as Director of the Secret Service Joseph Clancy (L) watches during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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"They ... didn't do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!" he added, referring to Democrats.

The Treasury Department, already using "extraordinary measures" to remain current on its obligations, has said the limit on the amount the federal government may borrow must be raised by Sept. 29.

The issue is one of the must-pass measures Congress will take up when it returns on Sept. 5 from its August recess. Another is a spending bill: Congress will have about 12 working days from when it returns from the break to approve spending measures to keep the government open.

Trump threatened on Tuesday to shut down the government if Congress failed to secure funding for his long-promised wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. His threat, which added which added a new complication to Republicans' months-long struggle to reach a budget deal, rattled markets and drew rebukes from some Republicans.

Democrats have slammed Trump over his comments.

On the debt ceiling issue, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that with Republicans controlling the White House and both chambers in Congress, "the American people expect and deserve a plan from Republicans to avert a catastrophic default and ensure the full faith and credit of the United States."

On Thursday, investors were more broadly waiting for speeches on Friday by central bank governors at a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for any new indications on monetary policy. U.S. stocks opened higher but then turned negative, and U.S. Treasury yields edged higher.

Yields on Treasury bills due in early October rose on concerns that payments on the debt could be delayed if lawmakers fail to raise the debt ceiling before the government runs out of funds.

"There’s disjointedness because of the debt ceiling,” said Lou Brien, a market strategist at DRW Trading in Chicago.

RELATIONS WITH MCCONNELL

Trump's renewed criticism of the Republican leaders came just a day after the White House and McConnell issued separate statements saying they were continuing to work together on shared priorities, seeking to counter news reports that their relationship is disintegrating.

Trump and McConnell "remain united on many shared priorities, including middle class tax relief, strengthening the military, constructing a southern border wall, and other important issues," the White House said in its statement.

Trump also reiterated his criticism of McConnell on Thursday over the Senate's failure in July to pass a bill to replace Democratic former President Barack Obama's healthcare law, legislation opposed by Republicans since it was enacted in 2010.

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U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), left, talked with United States Enrichment Corp. General Manager Howard Pulley during a media tour of the uranium-enrichment Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in the plant's Central Control Facility (C-300) on Thursday, Aug. 12, 1999 near Paducah, Ky. A sealed federal lawsuit filed in June by the Natural Resources Defense Council and three plant employees alleges that thousands of unsuspecting workers were exposed to dust containing plutonium and other radioactive metals.

(Photo by Billy Suratt)

Senator Mitch McConnell (L) discusses Republican tax cuts as Sen. Patrick Moynihan looks on during NBC's ''Meet the Press'' August 1, 1999 in Washington, DC.

(photo by Richard Ellis)

Senator Christopher Dodd, left, and Senator Mitch McConnell punch the 'first nails' into a piece of wood during a nail-driving ceremony December 6, 2000 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Both senators participated in the ceremony to signify the beginning of construction of the 2001 Inaugural platform on the West Front Terrace of the U.S. Capitol.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers)

Mitch McConnell R-Ky. holds a press conference on campaign finance reform.

(Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

United States President George W. Bush signs nominations for 13 cabinet members in a ceremony in the President's Room in the Capitol Building, in Washington January 20, 2001. From left to right are Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, (R-Ms), Vice-President Richard Cheney, Senator Strom Thurmond, (R-SC) and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Il).

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Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks to reporters after a news conference on his campaign finance bill.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduces his wife Labor Secretary Elaine Chao on the third day of the Republican National Convention in New York, September 1, 2004.

(Photo by Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, left, speaks with Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., after the Senate Luncheons.

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) (C) and Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) smile at a joint news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington July 28, 2005.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas YG/TZ)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C), flanked by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) (L-R), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), talks to reporters about the senate's passage of debt ceiling legislation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, August 2, 2011. Congress buried the specter of a debt default by finally passing a deficit-cutting package on Tuesday, but the shadow lingered of a possible painful downgrade of the top-notch American credit rating.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to his office at the Capitol in Washington December 17, 2011. The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed a $915 billion bill to fund most federal agency activities through next September and avert a government shutdown.

(REUTERS/Benjamin Myers)

Incoming U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (C) (R-TN) attends a meeting with Republican leadership, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (L) (R-KY) and GOP conference chairman, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Capitol Hill January 6, 2003 in Washington, DC. Frist was voted in as majority leader by his colleagues when former majority leader, Trent Lott, stepped down last month.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaking, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., during a news conference on Miguel A. Estrada's withdrawal of his nomination to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. From CQToday: In numerous news conferences and floor speeches throughout the day, Republicans castigated Democrats for 'obstructing' the nominations of Estrada and other judicial candidates; most Democrats said they were blocking an up-or-down vote on the nomination as part of their bid for memos and other work papers from Estrada's time in the Clinton administration's Office of the Solicitor General.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks about the stimulus package on February 2, 2009 in Washington, DC. Republicans are criticizing the Democrat's near trillion dollar stimulus package and are asking for revisions before the Senate votes later in the week.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

US Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, is sworn in by Vice President Dick Cheney (R) as his wife Labor Secretary Elaine Chao holds the Bible during a swearing in reenactment ceremony at the US Capitol on January 6, 2009 in Washington, DC.

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wave as they walk before their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2016.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

US House Minority Leader John Boehner (L)R-OH and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) make remarks to the press outside the West Wing after their meeting with President Barack Obama on January 23, 2009 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) waves goodbye to reporters after a news conference with (L-R) Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. John Barrasso (R0WY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) after the weekly Senate Republican Caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol May 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Despite the Senate voting against opening debate on a bill to keep interest rates on federal Stafford loans from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2012, McConnell said that both the GOP and Democrats agree on keeping rates down but need to find a way to pay for it.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., makes his way to the senate luncheons in the Capitol.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in the Capitol's rotunda, June 24, 2014.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell testifies along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (not pictured) during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 'Examining a Constitutional Amendment to Restore Democracy to the American People,' focusing on campaign finance on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks about the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S., November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

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"The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed!That should NEVER have happened!," Trump said in a tweet.

McConnell offered muted criticism of Trump on Thursday, saying he was "a little concerned about some of the trade rhetoric" by the president and others.

Trump has repeatedly condemned trade deals he believes are bad for American workers and for the U.S. economy. On Tuesday he cast doubt on any deal emerging to improve the North America Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. "We'll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point," he said.

"Trade is a winner for America," McConnell told a gathering of Kentucky farmers and lawmakers. "You may or may not know this, but of all the current free trade agreements that we have with the various countries all around the world, if you add them all up, we actually have a trade surplus."

"The assumption that every free trade agreement is a loser for America is largely untrue," McConnell said.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that McConnell and Trump were locked in a political "cold war," especially after an Aug. 9 phone call it said devolved into a shouting match. On that day and the next, Trump assailed McConnell via Twitter, angered by a speech McConnell had given saying Trump had "excessive expectations" of Congress.

(Reporting by David Alexander, Makini Brice and Ayesha Rascoe in Washington; Karen Brettell and Megan Davies in New York; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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