Negotiators from the White House and the House GOP are working quickly to reach a deal to raise the country’s debt limit. Time is running out quickly, and the chance of a first-ever US default is growing.
There have been some signs that talks have moved forward in recent days, and a person who knows about the situation says that negotiators hope to announce an agreement as soon as Saturday.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy arrived at the US Capitol on Saturday morning. His top Republican officials, Reps. Garret Graves of Louisiana and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, had been working late into the night from the speaker’s office to work out the last details of a deal.
“I feel like we’re getting closer to an agreement now than I did a long time ago. But hear me out: this is not easy in any way. “But that doesn’t make us give up on it,” McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol.
The California Republican said he would like to vote on a bill to raise the debt limit as soon as Tuesday. This would mean that officials would have to come to an agreement by Saturday and send lawmakers the text of the bill.
CNN asked McCarthy if he was sure he could get the whole House GOP Caucus to back him after they reached an agreement. He replied, “Do you ever think you’ll get every single member to vote for it? I couldn’t get everyone to vote for the first option. I didn’t get every single member to vote for me for speaker.”
McCarthy said to CNN, “I don’t think I’ll have any trouble with that” when asked if he could get most House Republicans on board.
McHenry said earlier on Saturday that he and Graves had gone back to McCarthy’s office and were meeting with the White House online. The talks from Friday stopped in the early hours of Saturday morning.
McHenry said that negotiators have to deal with a “very small set of issues” before they can reach an agreement, which he said was still “hours or days away.”
People who were involved in the process said earlier that they were sure the problems could be fixed quickly.
It’s not clear when the final version of the bill will be made public. If a deal is made and the bill is filed on Saturday, the House could vote as early as Tuesday. Then it would take a few days for the Senate to vote on it.
Still, it’s a tough deadline, and changing a plan into a bill can be a long and difficult process. At each step, new problems could easily come up, and each step could take a lot of time, wasting time before the debt limit date early next month. The two sides, on the other hand, have been trying to speed up the process by tightening up the bill text as they go.
“House Republicans have a bill to raise the debt ceiling, which we passed out of the House. So, we have a copy of the law that is long and full. “That gives you a good starting point when you get into a window like this,” McHenry said on Saturday.
It won’t be easy to get members to agree to the deal, as both the left and the right are likely to be very against it. This means that the bill will have to be pushed hard and have support from both sides of the aisle in order to pass.
Reaching a deal on spending cuts, which Republicans wanted in return for voting to raise the debt limit, has been one of the most important things. But there have also been big differences over other things, like requiring work to get help from social safety net programs, which Republicans want and Democrats don’t.
Graves told CNN on Friday, in response to a question about whether Republicans would be ready to drop work requirements for social safety net programs in order to reach a deal on the debt ceiling, “Hell no.” He said, “Hell no, not a chance,” and suggested that the problem is with the work rules for food stamps and temporary help programs for poor families, not Medicaid.
As the US gets closer and closer to the chance of a default and the threat of an economic disaster, there is a lot of pressure on the people in charge of negotiations.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday that Congress must deal with the debt cap by June 5 or the government won’t have enough money to pay all of the country’s bills on time and in full. This is a big change that will give lawmakers more time to reach a deal. Yellen had said before that June 1 was the earliest date that a default could happen.
McHenry said that Yellen’s new date “clarifies that our timeline is very tight.”
“Republicans in the House asked for more information. Chip Roy, Matt Gaetz, Byron Donalds, and Dan Bishop, among others, asked Secretary Yellen for more information about her math. She did her math again. It was clear that it was a good idea. And I think it gives us a better chance of making the deal,” he said on Saturday.
The debt ceiling, on the other hand, is hard to predict. It is more of a best-guess estimate than a firm deadline, which makes it hard to know exactly how much time Congress has to move to avoid a possible financial disaster.