Home Emergency A debt ceiling deal is close, Republican sources say

A debt ceiling deal is close, Republican sources say

39m ago / 11:53 PM UTC

Top GOP negotiator says ‘progress is slow’

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., who was tapped by McCarthy to lead negotiations with the White House, left the speaker’s office around 7:30 p.m., telling reporters that “progress is slow.” 

Graves added that there’s still “a lot of hang-ups,” but one of the biggest is work requirements. 

“Their efforts actually put in jeopardy those very benefits to senior citizens, like Medicare and Social Security, because they’re refusing to negotiate on work requirements.” Graves said.  

Asked if a deal could come by this weekend, Graves told reporters: “We’re not going to stop negotiating. The speaker has said this is a priority.”

2h ago / 10:52 PM UTC

McCarthy leaves Capitol for the night, says no deal yet

As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy left the Capitol around 6:30 p.m., he told reporters that a deal has not yet been reached and work will continue through the night.

“We’ve been talking to the White House all day, we’re going back and forth and it’s not easy. We want to make sure this is an agreement worthy of the American people,” the speaker said.

McCarthy added that he’ll be working in Washington over the weekend.

3h ago / 9:25 PM UTC

Top McCarthy ally: There are still ‘serious issues to work out’

Rep. Patrick McHenry, a close ally of McCarthy’s, just gave an update to reporters outside the Speaker’s office and it was far less rosy than the things they’ve been saying all day.

“The update here is that the work continues. I think there’s a sense of understanding from both teams that we have serious issues still to work out and come to terms with. And that’s going to take some time,” he said.

“We’ve got to work things out,” McHenry continued. “But it’s tough. And there are tough decisions yet remaining.”

McHenry said negotiators are trying to figure out next steps and whether another meeting with the White House negotiating team would be a part of that.

“There are certain terms that have to be met for this to make its way through the House of Representatives. And those things need to be dealt with,” he said.

5h ago / 7:47 PM UTC

‘We’re close’ to a possible deal, sources suggest

A Republican aide said talk is that negotiators could strike a deal soon, as early as today or tomorrow, angering Republicans who feel shut out of the talks, but that the bill would be expected to pass. The source said the dynamic was not set in stone and could change at any time, however. A second Republican aide said a deal tomorrow is most likely, in time to come to the floor Tuesday. 

“We’re close,” a source familiar with the talks said.  

Negotiating staff convened again today after a second extended session late into last night, in addition to a four-hour one that afternoon. 

The source didn’t rule out a deal being announced today but lowered expectations of it, adding that there was more work to do.

6h ago / 6:50 PM UTC

Democratic lawmakers call on Biden to make prime-time address

Some Democratic lawmakers say they want the president to deliver a prime-time address “to really call out” House Republicans on the debt ceiling.

“I do think the president should use his bully pulpit to really call out these Republicans and tell the nation what’s going on, in the Oval Office or in the Rose Garden — prime-time address — and really telling the American people what the GOP has decided to do,” Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

Frost said Republicans “manufactured a bomb” over the debt ceiling.

“They’re saying, ‘Hey, unless you allow us to pass massive cuts to working-class families, guess what, we’re going to hit the trigger.’ And in fact, there are many members of the GOP caucus who are, maybe kind of, interested in hitting the trigger, maybe they’re a little curious to see what happens if our country defaults,” Frost said.

Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, issued a similar call, urging Biden to “explain to the American people exactly what the options are and how dire this moment is dealing with this economic collapse due to a Republican, self-inflicted Republican default on America.”

Frost added that if the country does default, “what we know to be true is that working families will suffer. People won’t get Social Security checks, Medicaid, veterans will be impacted. And so we need to do what’s right and raise the debt ceiling and move on from this.”

May 25, 202305:36

6h ago / 6:14 PM UTC

Jayapal says Democrats were told they could be called back to D.C. as early as Sunday

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., emerged from a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting today and said she and her colleagues were told the earliest they would have to return to Washington is Sunday.

“We were told the earliest it could be was Sunday, and that the Republicans have scheduled baseball practice for Wednesday and Thursday,” she said. “So I guess sometime in between those days.”

Jayapal chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has been urging the White House not to give in to GOP demands in the debt ceiling talks.

6h ago / 6:13 PM UTC

Biden: Congressional leaders agree that ‘there will be no default’

Biden sought to assuage concerns that the U.S. could default on its debt, saying the two sides had made “progress” in negotiations but that the “only way” to move forward is with a bipartisan agreement.

In a speech at the Rose Garden, he implicitly pushed back against suggestions he could use the 14th Amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. He characterized his conversations with McCarthy as “productive” and said staff from both sides were meeting as he spoke this afternoon.

Biden said that defaulting on the national debt was “not an option,” and that congressional leaders agreed that “there will be no default.”

“The American people deserve to know that their Social Security payments will be there, that veterans’ hospitals remain open and that economic progress will be made and we’re going to continue to make it,” he said.

Biden added, however, that staff are negotiating budget cuts to get the U.S. “fiscal house” in order.

“I don’t believe the whole burden should fall on the backs of middle-class and working-class Americans,” he said. “My House Republican friends disagree.”

May 25, 202302:14

7h ago / 5:58 PM UTC

White House says Congress is the only option

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked today why the administration doesn’t have a Plan B.

“What I can say is the only option right now is for Congress to do their jobs without conditions. That is the way that we need to move forward as it relates to the debt limit,” she said.

7h ago / 5:25 PM UTC

House’s most conservative members make new demands of McCarthy

Thirty-five members of the House Freedom Caucus, the conservative wing of the Republican party, wrote today to urge McCarthy to “deploy” party unity to take a tougher stance in negotiations with the White House.

The representatives, many of whom had opposed his initial bid to become speaker, affirmed their unity and called on their leader to hold out for a deal with many of Republicans’ top priorities.

“The only hope for transformative change in Washington comes from a unified House Republican Conference,” the lawmakers wrote. “You have that. We are behind you. Use our unity to make history.”

The representatives specifically encouraged McCarthy to claw back unspent Covid funds and demand a repeal of funding for new IRS agents.

They called on him to add additional provisions to the bill that the House previously passed, including cutting funding for the FBI’s new headquarters and adding Republican priorities around immigration and the border.

The lawmakers’ letter referred to debt ceiling negotiations as a “manufactured crisis” and called on McCarthy to force Yellen to make public the math underpinning her projection that the U.S. government could be unable to pay some of its bills as soon as June 1.

7h ago / 5:23 PM UTC

White House criticizes RNC chair for saying a default would ‘bode very well’ for GOP in 2024

The White House criticized Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel for saying yesterday that GOP presidential candidates could potentially benefit from the U.S. defaulting.

During an interview on Fox News yesterday, she said, “This is a president that is failing the American people. So I think that bodes very well for the Republican field.”

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates criticized McDaniel for her “appalling and revealing” remarks that support “triggering an unprecedented economic downturn” for “perceived political benefit.”

“Regardless of how liberal or conservative leaders are, their highest priorities must be protecting America’s national security and the livelihoods of American families,” he said. “They have a duty to never undermine either for any reason. These horrifying remarks explicitly wish an historic catastrophe on the entire country — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.”

“Ronna McDaniel just told the American people that causing unemployment, bankruptcies, and the obliteration retirement dreams is worth scoring the cheapest political points imaginable; that she’s willing to sell our future out to China in the name of self-serving political greed,” Bates added.

7h ago / 5:09 PM UTC

Debt ceiling impasse derails planned international congressional travel


The impasse of the debt ceiling is delaying trips abroad that lawmakers had planned.

China Select Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., was supposed to lead a group to Taiwan this weekend but that has been postponed because of uncertainty on the House schedule, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, just told reporters he was supposed to travel to Mexico and Guatemala but may have to postpone the travel.

8h ago / 4:52 PM UTC

Will debt holders be first in line for payments from the govt?

If the U.S. runs out of money, Yellen has the option to pay bondholders the interest they are owed on U.S. Treasurys first and delay paying all other bills, such as Social Security and veterans benefits, until the government has enough money to do so, economists and budget policy experts said. That was a strategy Treasury officials said they had gamed out in 2011 when the U.S. came close to a default. 

Failing to pay bondholders would likely have the biggest repercussions across the economy because of the chaos it would create in the financial markets, since Treasurys are seen as one of the safest investments in the world.

A failure to make those payments would almost certainly trigger a downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, making it more expensive for the government to borrow money and driving up interest rates for anyone else looking to borrow for a home, car or with a credit card, economists said.  It would also cause banks to significantly pull back on lending, cutting off lines of credit to businesses that need to borrow money for everything from an expansion to making payrolls. The value of the dollar would also be affected, having an impact on companies that buy or sell goods overseas. 

Giving priority to bondholder payments could also come with political consequences for the Biden administration if it’s viewed as investors getting paid while others, like Social Security recipients, miss getting their checks on time.

8h ago / 4:11 PM UTC

Jeffries: U.S. may default on its debt because ‘extreme MAGA Republicans have chosen to get out of town’

In remarks on the House floor, Jeffries accused “extreme MAGA Republicans” of manufacturing an “unreasonable” debt ceiling crisis amid the lack of an agreement with White House negotiators.

“We are here on the floor today because this default crisis is before the American people as a result of extreme MAGA Republicans making the political calculation that they will benefit in 2024,” Jeffries said, referring to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Jeffries took aim at Republicans who flew home to their districts before a deal could be reached ahead of the looming June 1 deadline, and anticipated a “fake narrative” they will potentially use to point fingers at Biden if the U.S. defaults on its debt for the first time in history.

“On June 1, America may run out of the ability to pay our bills and extreme MAGA Republicans have chosen to get out of town before sundown to flee Washington DC, to risk a dangerous default in a crisis that they’ve created,” he said. “And these Republicans, they’re going to say that Joe Biden refused to sit down with them. That’s a fake narrative that they’ve continued to try to put into the public domain.” 

9h ago / 3:44 PM UTC

Democrats take to floor to chide GOP for adjourning without debt deal

House Democrats gave speech after speech on the floor this morning, lambasting McCarthy and Republicans for sending members home for the Memorial Day weekend before a deal is reached to avert a debt default.

Organized by Minority Whip Katherine Clark and the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, the series of back-to-back one-minute floor speeches is part of messaging push to blame Republicans for a catastrophic default that could happen one week from now.

“Members are urged to demand Speaker McCarthy keep the House in session and share constituent stories that highlight the local impact of the devastating cuts proposed by Republicans to critical programs that keep Americans housed, fed, healthy, and secure as they hold America’s economy hostage,” Clark wrote in a letter to colleagues, urging them to participate.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif, Troy Carter, D-La., and Cori Bush, D-Mo., were among the more than 80 lawmakers who gave speeches.

The more aggressive effort from Hill Democrats came after private and public griping that Biden and his White House team weren’t doing enough to push back on Republicans, who have been casting blame on the president for the debt standoff.

Though many lawmakers rushed this morning to catch planes back to their districts, a number of House Democrats said they would stick around the Capitol to participate in the floor effort and discuss strategy heading into the weekend.

Democrats are scheduled to huddle behind closed doors in the basement of the Capitol at noon.

9h ago / 3:35 PM UTC

Jeffries says Biden will ‘hold the line’ on the most ‘devastating’ GOP-proposed cuts

Asked by NBC News if his caucus is prepared to vote for unfavorable cuts to government programs if President Biden agrees to them, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said he believes Biden will “hold the line” when it comes to the most “devastating” cuts Republicans are proposing.

“It’s unacceptable, that on the one hand, you have Republicans pretending as if they would never cut anything that will adversely impact the health, the safety or the well-being of veterans and military families, but doing the exact opposite, as has been outlined by our members,” he said during a press conference this morning.

Jeffries added that he’s confident the “worst” of the cuts will not be in any debt ceiling bill that comes to the floor.

“And it’s my expectation that those cuts that have been proposed by Republicans, that they are trying to extract as a result of holding the economy hostage and continuing to threaten default will not be before the Congress because of the advocacy of the veterans’ services organizations, the advocacy of these members, and President Biden and Democrats continuing to hold the line.

May 25, 202301:26

Most Popular

Aaron Judge breaks through Dodger Stadium fence after insane running catch

Aaron Judge is without a doubt one of the best hitters on the planet, but that's all he does.It turns out the guy is...

Joran van der Sloot, key suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance, moved to new prison ahead of extradition to U.S.

LIMA, Peru — The chief suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American student Natalee Holloway is being transferred to a prison near Peru’s...

‘Don’t want to live life anymore without confessing’: Man confesses to killing landlord 15 years ago, police recordings show

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police officers found Tony Peralta earlier this month sitting on a curb not far from the convenience store in a small...

Biden signs bipartisan debt ceiling bill to avert government default

President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law a bill extending the debt ceiling for two years, averting an economically disastrous debt default ahead of Monday’s...