WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Monday “decisions need to be made” when he meets with President Joe Biden later in the day at the White House, with just 10 days until the states- United are not likely to default.
“We need to have some movement” in order to move toward an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I know where I think people should be able to go.”
McCarthy acknowledged that the reality of the legislative calendar has added more pressure to his meeting with Biden, which is scheduled to take place in the Oval Office at 5:30 p.m. ET.
“I think we can get a deal tonight, we can get a deal tomorrow, but you have to do something this week to be able to get through it. [in the House] and move it to the Senate” in time to meet the June 1 deadline, he said.
The House is currently scheduled to leave for Memorial Day weekend, but McCarthy said he would keep the house in session for as long as it needed to pass a bill. “We will stay and do our job,” he said.
McCarthy spoke after three hours of negotiations between the White House and House Republican envoys on Monday. One of the GOP negotiators, Rep. Patrick McHenry, RN.C., later said he was “concerned about getting a deal that can be passed by the House, the Senate, and signed by the president”.
“It’s a complicated math, it’s true,” McHenry told CNN. “We are at a very sensitive point here, and the goal is to get something that can be legislated into law,” he added.
McHenry was joined in the talks by Rep. Garret Graves, R-La. The White House team is made up of presidential adviser Steve Ricchetti, director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young and director of legislative affairs Louisa Terrell.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated on Sunday that June 1 was the government’s “deadline” to raise the debt ceiling or deal with a likely first default on the national debt.
“We expect not to be able to pay all of our bills in early June, and maybe as soon as June 1,” Yellen told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“My assessment is that the chances of reaching June 15 and still being able to pay all our bills are quite low,” she said, with the caveat that there would always be uncertainty about the accurate income and payments.
Both Biden and McCarthy have acknowledged that one of the main sticking points in the talks remains the spending cap issue, a key GOP request but a red line so far for the White House. Raising the debt ceiling would not allow new spending, but Republicans have insisted on sweeping public spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the borrowing limit.
“The underlying problem here is that the Democrats, ever since they took the majority, have been addicted to spending. And that’s going to stop. We’re going to spend less than we spent last year,” McCarthy said. to reporters Monday morning at the Capitol. .
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.
Biden and McCarthy’s meeting follows a dramatic weekend in which talks broke down on Friday over an impasse over government spending levels but resumed several hours later.
The two leaders then spoke on the phone on Sunday evening, a conversation they described as “productive”.
Over the weekend, the president faulted Republicans for demanding that huge swathes of federal discretionary spending be exempt from their proposed budget cuts, including defense and potentially veterans’ health benefits.
If those categories really were to be exempt, Biden explained, then cuts to all other discretionary spending would have to be much larger to make up the difference.
Broad cuts like these “make absolutely no sense,” Biden said Sunday in Japan, where he was attending the Group of Seven summit. “It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no no bipartisan deal to be struck solely, solely, on their partisan terms.”