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Debt ceiling talks still stuck on federal spending levels

WASHINGTON — Chairman Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that bipartisan negotiators are not close to a deal, but added there is still time to avoid a potentially catastrophic default on the country’s debt bonds by the end of the day. deadline next week.

“We’re not there yet,” said McCarthy, R-Calif. Yellen said the nation will run out of money to pay its bills.

Inside the private meeting at the Republican Party’s Capitol Hill Club — a short walk from the Capitol, a place where lawmakers are legally allowed to talk about election politics that can’t be hammered out inside government buildings — the McCarthy’s message to his GOP colleagues on the state of the debt talks was that “nothing has been done.” Nothing has changed,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, RS.C.

Later Tuesday morning, a trio of White House negotiators returned to the President’s suite on Capitol Hill for another round of talks after a late-night meeting that stretched past 11 p.m. — a positive sign that negotiations continued for a second consecutive day. But White House officials — Shalanda Young, Steve Ricchetti and Louisa Terrell — left the Capitol just over two hours later without providing any updates.

The two sides do not plan to meet again on Tuesday, but plan to meet on Wednesday morning, a Democratic source familiar with the talks said. McCarthy and Biden are also not expected to speak by phone on Tuesday, the source added.

“We’re trying to give room for negotiators,” the source said.

McCarthy called Monday’s one-on-one meeting with President Joe Biden “productive” while warning reporters not to confuse it with “progress.” McCarthy suggested the split in federal spending levels remained a major sticking point in the talks. Democrats have said they are fine with freezing spending at current levels. But House Republicans want to cut spending to the approved level in 2021, reversing increases that have occurred in the interim.

“Why are we in the problem we are in? People have spent too much money and Democrats even want to spend more than we spent last year. It’s not going to happen,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “They always want to spend more money next year than we spent this year. It’s a red line.

A source familiar with the talks said once differences over the spending issue were resolved it would “help a lot” to get a deal done. Due to inflation, the source said, a spending freeze would equate to a reduction in real dollars.

Back at the negotiating table on Tuesday, Republicans appeared pessimistic about the state of the debt ceiling talks and continued to express frustration that their White House counterparts are not acting with more urgency. .

“I don’t think things are going well,” said Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., whom McCarthy named as his rep in the room. “Until the White House understands that they have a spending crisis, they have a fiscal crisis, they have a debt crisis, we can’t get this deal done.”

Walking alongside Graves, McHenry said there was a “lack of urgency” on the part of the White House team to understand how long it will take to get a bill through Congress, a phrase the powerful Financial Services Committee Chairman also uttered after McCarthy’s meeting with Biden the night. Before. “What we need is a team fully empowered by the White House to get things done.”

“It’s very important to recognize that urgency has to be on the agenda,” McHenry continued. “And that’s not currently…the vibes I’m getting.”

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., added a caveat when reporters in Lexington asked him Tuesday morning if he was worried, saying, “Everyone needs to relax. “

“Regardless of what can be said about the day-to-day talks, the president and the president will come to an agreement, it will ultimately be passed by a bipartisan vote in both the House and the Senate,” he said. declared.

On Monday, Yellen warned McCarthy and other congressional leaders that June 1 remained the date by which the United States could default on its debt unless a bipartisan agreement to raise the debt ceiling. But as Republican lawmakers walked out of Tuesday morning’s meeting, far-right conservatives suggested the Treasury secretary was offering empty threats.

“I’m not buying on June 1,” Norman, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said when asked about Yellen’s so-called X-date. “We need to subpoena him and get his plan.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., echoed that skepticism.

“If Janet Yellen can really prove that the receipts and deposits create this defect on June 1, she should come to Congress and prove it,” Gaetz said.

Garrett Haake, Kristen Welker And Monique Alba contributed.


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