Debt limit: Major differences remain over spending cuts and other key issues as debt limit deadline looms
Negotiations continue to try to reach a debt ceiling deal, but major differences between House Republicans and the White House have yet to be overcome, and the pressure is only intensifying as the risk of default grows higher every day.
Republicans have long said that spending cuts must be tied to any increase in the debt ceiling — an issue that is proving to be a central sticking point as Democrats say the Republican cuts are too much, though White House has expressed willingness to make cuts. spend some
Asked if there was a general agreement on the cuts, GOP Rep. “No, that’s our biggest gap,” Garrett Graves, who has served as chief negotiator during the talks, said Tuesday.
Graves clarified that a wide range of important gaps remain, even if the timeline for avoiding default is short.
“Look, there are some big bright red lines on either side,” he said. “We don’t have any of these issues closed.”
In an indication of how far apart the two sides are, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told Republicans during a closed-door meeting Tuesday, “We are nowhere near a deal,” according to sources in the chamber.
The window to secure a deal is closing fast and the Treasury Department is incredibly bullish as it continues to say the US could default by June 1. A first-ever default for the U.S. would likely lead to global economic disaster.
McCarthy met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, a meeting both the speaker and the president said was “productive,” but did not lead to a breakthrough in talks or a deal.
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have continued to push back against Republicans’ negotiating positions and expressed more concern over the ticking clock.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar argued that Republicans have been pushed to take extreme positions by right-wing members of the GOP conference.
“It’s difficult, it’s not where we should be. Speaker McCarthy has been held captive by the Freedom Caucus,” Aguilar told reporters Tuesday.
“We are concerned that Republicans are not only moving the goalposts, but continue to hold on to the most extreme elements of their proposals,” he said.
McCarthy, despite saying the two sides are still far apart, said Tuesday he thinks it’s possible to get everything done by the June 1 deadline. “We can still complete it by June 1,” he told reporters.
But in a sign there may not be much room for maneuver in the talks, McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju, “We’re going to raise the debt ceiling,” when asked what concessions he would make — a significant comment that reflects That the Republicans are not willing. Giving more than extending the loan limit in exchange for their demands.
When Raju pressed the speaker, asking if that was his only concession, McCarthy said, “Everything we’re going to do is going to make America stronger.”
McCarthy’s comment Tuesday that raising the debt ceiling was the only concession he would make rankled the White House, which the day before had deemed talks with McCarthy productive, according to two sources familiar with the talks.
A Democratic official slammed McCarthy for his comments, accusing him of refusing to compromise and the most conservative members of his caucus as negotiations languished.
The official criticized McCarthy’s demand that the budget deals of the past decade increase defense spending while drastically reducing non-defense spending.
Another significant challenge facing negotiators is that even if a deal is struck, it is far from the end of the road to prevent default.
Legislative text will need to be written, which can be a daunting and complicated task as lawmakers and staff dive into policy details — a part of the process for final passage of any bill that often involves other issues and eleventh-hour delays. can cause Over disagreement about the fine print.
Then, leaders of both parties would need to scramble for votes to pass a bill, no small task with narrow majorities in both chambers. After that, a deal will need to be brought to the floor, a process that could take days to play out in both chambers, although there are mechanisms available to the leadership to speed things up.