Debt ceiling deadline questioned as negotiators focus on key issues

United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media as he leaves a debt ceiling meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, DC , May 22, 2023.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A prominent group of House Republicans raised questions Tuesday about whether the June 1 deadline set by the Treasury Department to avert a potential U.S. debt default was accurate.

“We would like to see more transparency on how they arrive at that date,” House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise said Tuesday at a press conference.

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Scalise also said he believed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s latest comments, released on Monday, “implied it was June 1, or later, giving some openness to the idea that June 1 could not be the so-called X date”.

Yellen published a new letter to congressional leaders on Monday that appeared to say the opposite of what Scalise was claiming, specifically omitting a line from a previous letter about how extraordinary measures could buy the United States more time to avoid default on their debt.

“We haven’t really been able to see a lot of transparency, but it looks like they’re hedging now and opening the door to push that date back,” Scalise said.

A Treasury spokesman declined to comment.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not question Yellen’s timeline, and on Tuesday his office reaffirmed in a new statement that the deadline for the talks was June 1. “President Biden has only 9 days left to get serious and reach a responsible agreement to immediately raise the debt ceiling,” the statement read.

On Capitol Hill, debt ceiling negotiators prepared to focus on a smaller group of key issues that were ripe for compromise, an encouraging development with just nine days until the United States faces risk. seriousness of a potentially catastrophic national debt default.

“We’re getting closer,” McCarthy told reporters Monday night, adding that the “circle” of issues was getting “smaller, smaller, smaller.”

Issues still on the table Tuesday included energy permit reforms, new work requirements for some forms of federal aid and the redistribution of unused Covid-19 emergency funds.

Also on the table are “healthcare savings,” CNBC reported Monday, which could include reforms to the amount the government pays health care companies under several large federal health insurance plans.

United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, center, speaks to members of the media upon arriving at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S., Tuesday, May 23, 2023 .

Nathan Howard | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McCarthy met Monday afternoon with President Joe Biden, a one-on-one that both sides called “productive,” but who failed to hammer out the deal to raise the debt ceiling on which markets global financiers and investors matter.

House Republicans held their weekly conference on Tuesday morning, at which McCarthy reportedly said they were ‘far from a deal’ and urged the caucus to stick together and support the deal he finally concluded.

“Within 10 days of default, Joe Biden has yet to offer or accept our sensible solution that raises the debt ceiling and solves our debt crisis,” the House Republican Conference president said Tuesday. Elise Stefanik, NY.

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A Republican negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry, NC, told reporters that spending was still the biggest obstacle to a deal.

“The fundamental issue here is spending. It’s not about gambling,” McHenry said Tuesday before the Republican National Committee. “It’s about getting a deal before the deadline that responds to the President’s message that we’ll spend less money next year than we spend now.”

Biden hopes to reach a deal on the debt limit that would push the next deadline beyond the 2024 presidential election. But House Republicans, who so far have only approved a hike of a year, say if Biden wants more time, he’ll have to accept even more cuts.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.


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