US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Republican, CA) (left) watches as US President Joe Biden speaks at a meeting on the debt ceiling in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2023.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he had “productive” and “professional” talks with President Joe Biden on how to raise the debt ceiling, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement on Monday.
“I think the tone of the discussion tonight was better than any other night,” McCarthy said outside the West Wing after an hour-long meeting.
The meeting was also beneficial to the negotiating team trying to reach a complex agreement. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, who is negotiating on McCarthy’s behalf, said, “This bill will allow the negotiating team to learn a little more about the details needed to arrive at a package that can pass through Congress. I made it,” he said.
“Hearing the Chairman and the President bash each other directly has been a productive and meaningful discussion and has helped us achieve a structure that protects everyone’s stock,” McHenry said. rice field.
McCarthy said both teams intend to “go back and work on a compromise all night.” “The president and I know the deadline, so I think we’re going to be talking every day until this is done.”
Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Biden and Mr. Biden stressed the need for a “win-win” deal from a tightly divided and bipartisan Congress. “We still have our disagreements, but I think we may get where we need to go,” Biden said at the outset of the long-awaited sit-in.
Mr. McCarthy sympathized with Mr. Biden’s cautious optimism. “At the end of the day, I think we can find common ground, strengthen our economy, and deal with this debt, but more importantly, to keep inflation under control, reduce our dependence on China, and spend more. It’s the system’s job to get the government back on track. “
US President Joe Biden hosts a debt relief talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, USA, May 22, 2023.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Shortly before the meeting, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: Reconfirmed June 1 As early as the United States could be at serious risk of default. Yellen’s latest letter to congressional leaders was similar to letters she sent throughout the spring. But on Monday, there were two subtle differences.
First, while Yellen characterized the likelihood of a default in early June as “very likely,” it was just “likely” last week. . In Monday’s letter, he specifically left out a sentence last week that predicted emergency measures being taken by the Treasury Department to cover government debt could extend the default deadline to June.
“The actual date for the Treasury to take extraordinary action could be days or weeks later than these expectations,” Yellen said in a letter to congressional leaders a week ago. But by Monday, her apparent optimism had faded.
McCarthy said on Monday that he believes June 1 is the deadline for the cold weather. He also acknowledged that the realities of the legislative process are beginning to weigh on his own calculations.
“I think we can get an agreement tonight, I think we can get an agreement tomorrow, but we have to do something this week to make it happen.” [in the House] And I will transfer it to the Senate in time for the June 1 deadline.”
The House is currently scheduled to adjourn for Memorial Day weekend, but McCarthy said he plans to remain adjourned as long as necessary to pass legislation. “We are going to stay here and do our job,” he said.
McCarthy said Monday after three hours of negotiations between the White House and the House Republican envoy. One of the Republican negotiators, Rep. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.), later said he was “concerned about getting a deal that could pass the House, Senate and get the President’s signature.” Told.
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media as he leaves a meeting on the debt ceiling with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
“It’s complicated math,” McHenry told CNN. “We are at a very delicate moment here and the goal is to get something that can be legislated,” he added.
McHenry is a Republican, and Rep. Garrett Graves of Labada also joined the talks. The White House team consists of Counselor Steve Ricketty, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and Office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell.
Yellen has repeatedly warned Congress and the public that the U.S. faces a tough deadline to raise the debt ceiling by early June.
“It is expected that we will not be able to pay all our invoices Early June, and maybe June 1 at the earliest,” Yellen said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“My assessment is that it is highly unlikely that we will be able to pay all bills and arrive by June 15,” she said, warning that there will always be uncertainty about exact earnings and payments. .
Biden and McCarthy acknowledged that one of the key deadlocks in the talks was the issue of spending caps, a key request for the Republican Party but a red line for the White House so far. there is While raising the debt ceiling would not allow for new spending, Republicans have argued for drastic cuts in government spending as part of the deal to raise the borrowing ceiling.
“The fundamental problem here is that since the Democrats took the majority, they’ve been obsessed with spending. And it’s going to stop. We’re going to spend less than we did last year,” McCarthy said. He told reporters at the Houses of Parliament on Monday morning. .
Biden hopes to reach a debt limit deal that puts the next deadline past the 2024 presidential election. But House Republicans, who have so far only supported a one-year rate hike, argue that if Mr. Biden wants more time, he will have to agree to more rate cuts.
Biden and McCarthy’s talks came after a dramatic weekend when talks broke down on Friday over stalled levels of government spending but resumed hours later.
The two leaders then spoke by phone on Sunday night, describing the conversation as “productive”.
Over the weekend, the president blasted Republicans for calling for huge amounts of federal discretionary spending to be exempt from proposed cuts to defense spending, veterans’ health care benefits and more.
Biden explained that if those categories were indeed eliminated, significant cuts in all other discretionary spending would be required to make up the difference.
Mr. Biden said on Sunday in Japan during the G7 summit that such sweeping cuts would make “no sense at all.” “It’s time for Republicans to accept that bipartisan agreements cannot be made on partisan terms alone.”