House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday expressed little confidence about negotiations between himself and President Joe Biden to reach a deal on the debt ceiling and avoid a sovereign default.
McCarthy, speaking to a reporter, said that – despite reports of optimism over negotiations on Friday – negotiations were not producing compromises on the majority of demands that Republicans have made conditional on increasing the debt ceiling, embodied in the Limit, Save, Grow Act passed by the House in April. His comments come as both Congress and Biden prepare to leave Washington, D.C., before the end of May, while a default is projected to occur as early as next month. (RELATED: White House Aiming For Two-Year Deal On Debt Ceiling As Talks Stall: REPORT)
“I still think we’re far apart. It doesn’t seem to me yet that they want a deal. It just seems that they want to look like they’re in a meeting, but they’re not talking anything serious,” McCarthy told reporters, adding that “[it] seems more like they want a default than a deal to me.” McCarthy also said that “we’ve gotta have a deal done by this weekend to be able to have a timeline to be able to pass it in both houses.”
Speaker McCarthy offered a reality check this morning on debt limit talks, insisting they are still “far apart,” while the administration paints a rosier picture. pic.twitter.com/v3hLWjkdnz
— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotcnn) May 15, 2023
The news comes despite reports that Republicans and Democrats had agreed upon conditions to be included in a final debt ceiling bill, which were reforms to energy permits, a 1% cap on discretionary spending and an expansion of work requirements for Medicaid and SNAP food stamp recipients. Biden and McCarthy postponed a meeting on Friday to Tuesday to enable staff negotiations to better develop proposals.
Both houses of Congress are scheduled to sit in Washington, D.C., until May 22, when the Senate will begin its “State Work Period” and its members will be away from the Capitol, while the House will begin the same on May 25. Biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to leave the country for the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on Wednesday and will return to on May 25 after stopping in Papua New Guinea and Australia for diplomatic summits, though there have been calls for him to cancel the trips.
The U.S. is projected to exhaust all emergency measures to meet its debt obligations to holders of Treasury bonds as early as June 1, according to a letter that Yellen sent McCarthy on May 1. Economists and officials in both parties have agreed that it would lead to an “economic and financial catastrophe” for the world economy, per Yellen’s letter.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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