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Trump administration, Congress agree on spending levels: Mnuchin

FILE PHOTO – U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin delivers a speech at SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

CHANTILLY, France/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that the Trump administration and congressional leaders have agreed on broad spending levels for the next two fiscal years, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not confirm there was a deal.

Mnuchin said he hoped Congress could pass a comprehensive spending package including a debt limit hike before lawmkers’ August recess to avoid cash flow problems that could begin in early September.

“We have actually now agreed on the spending numbers forboth years, we’re now working on offsets and certain structuralissues and as part of this, we’ve agreed that there would be along-term debt ceiling extension,” Mnuchin said at a G7 finance leaders meeting in France.

Pelosi, leader of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, told reporters at the Capitol she planned to speak to Mnuchin shortly.

“Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. But we are on our way. We have a path,” she said.

In a CNBC interview, Mnuchin described the spending levels as “top-line” numbers, which would leave appropriations committees to allocate the funding.

The White House and congressional negotiators have been talking about a two-year extension of the debt limit. That would coincide with a hoped-for two-year deal on spending limits for defense and non-defense programs in fiscal year 2020, which begins on Oct. 1, and the subsequent fiscal year. 

Mnuchin said he has been in daily conversations withcongressional leaders from both parties and White House actingbudget director Mick Mulvaney on the issue. He said he thought there was no appetite on either side to see the U.S. government shut down over lack of funding.

Pelosi said on Wednesday she would like to have a proposal on raising the U.S. debt ceiling on the House floor by July 25. For that to happen, there needs to be an agreement on the debt limit with the administration by Friday.

Reporting by David Lawder in Chantilly and Richard Cowan in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis