Pete Kasperowicz of the Washington Examiner discusses the latest potential battle over the federal debt.

The debt ceiling has returned.

But unlike past debt crises, deficit hawks are hoping this new chapter ends differently — not with more unrestrained borrowing, but with some kind of commitment to reverse decades of habits that have allowed the national debt to hit $19.9 trillion.

President Trump’s election victory is giving conservatives hope, and the White House so far has indicated that it doesn’t want this debt crisis to go to waste.

“[H]ow we address our budget deficits, our debt and our spending going forward is something that is a holistic conversation that the [Treasury] secretary and [OMB] Director [Mick] Mulvaney and others, the president, the vice president, are engaging with Congress on,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday. He also said the budget Trump would release this week would reveal its approach to “fiscal responsibility.”

The White House has talked about putting the country’s “debt, deficit and budget in order,” but doing so will require Republicans to decide several key questions.

One is whether and how to tie spending reforms to an increase in the debt ceiling. Republicans have tried this before, most notably in 2011, when Congress passed a bill that led to the sequester. Those automatic cuts were hated by both Republicans and Democrats, and Trump himself has proposed a $54 billion bump in defense spending that will almost certainly be met by demands from Democrats to raise domestic spending.

That expected fight is likely to make it harder for deficit hawks to argue for restraint.