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'No chance' full repeal of debt ceiling will make it to House floor: Former Bush aide

  • President Donald Trump may be open to discussing a plan to permanently scrap the debt ceiling, but don't expect it to get very far, Sara Fagen said.
  • She sees "no chance" of it getting to the House floor.
  • However, she believes the House will pass the bill that wraps together a short-term extension on the debt ceiling and government funding with hurricane aid.

President Donald Trump may be open to discussing a plan to permanently scrap the federal debt ceiling, but don't expect it to get very far, Sara Fagen, a former senior aide to President George W. Bush, told CNBC on Thursday.

According to The Washington Post, Trump and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have a "gentlemen's agreement" to seek such a plan.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Trump didn't explicitly say he agreed to push forward on getting rid of the debt ceiling. However, he said, "Certainly, that's something we'll discuss."

"I see no chance that you're going to see a full repeal of the debt ceiling make it to the House floor," said Fagen, former political director for Bush.

A majority of congressional Republicans oppose the idea, and on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan voiced opposition to getting rid of the debt ceiling.

Trump has already signaled his willingness to split with his party. On Wednesday, he agreed to back Democrats' plan to extend the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months as part of a disaster relief package. Before the deal, House Speaker Paul Ryan called a short-term extension "ridiculous" and "unworkable."

On Thursday, the Senate approved the package. It now heads to the House, where it will face opposition from conservatives.

Fagen told "Power Lunch" she expects the House to pass the bill.

"The worst thing for Republicans would be to block aid for hurricane victims. And I think that this will pass with Democratic votes and few Republican votes," she said.

However, she doesn't think the way Trump surprised GOP leaders by crossing the aisle will sit well with his base.

Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, said at the end of the day Trump is a dealmaker more than a politician. Therefore, he looks at each deal on its own basis and doesn't think about allies he may be alienating.

"He somehow separates that in his head. I don't know how that's going to work in the political hothouse of Washington," he told "Power Lunch."

He called the extension deal with Democrats "extraordinary" and the idea of eliminating the debt ceiling an "even bigger deal."

In fact, Kempe thinks getting rid of the debt ceiling would be a "godsend" for investors because every time it has to be approved, it shakes markets.

"If over the next months he can turn this gentlemen's agreement into a real deal, that's a very big change," he said.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

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