The White House and Republicans struggle to move forward in debt ceiling talks -Dlight News

The White House and Republicans struggle to move forward in debt ceiling talks

The White House and Republicans in Congress struggled to make meaningful progress on Tuesday toward a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, leaving the economy and financial markets on edge a little more than a week before a possible debt default.

President Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House speaker, met for direct talks at the White House on Monday evening, calling each “productive” and expressing hope that they are moving closer to an agreement.

But staff-level talks that took place late Monday and into Tuesday showed no signs of success — only a pledge to continue talks.

“While there will be areas of disagreement, the president, the speaker and their teams will continue to discuss the way forward,” White House press secretary Carine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a briefing Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, McCarthy held a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers in the lower chamber of Congress in which he said he was “nowhere close” to an agreement with Biden.

“There are some things that divide us. . . You can’t spend more money next year than you spent this year, that’s clear as day. We have to help people to work with work needs,” McCarthy later told reporters.

Garrett Graves, one of the Republican House members McCarthy has appointed as a top negotiator, later called on the White House to “empower” administration officials working for Biden — accusing them of acting like used car salesmen and saying they should talk to their managers. is needed. Refusal to negotiate on price.

Graves told reporters on Capitol Hill that he did not expect the two sides to meet again on Tuesday.

The US The Treasury has warned that the lack of any tangible movement towards a deal will become increasingly worrying given that it lacks the cash to pay all its bills as soon as June 1. Such an event could potentially trigger major disruptions in the financial system. , and affects homes and businesses across the US.

Any deal would have to be struck several days before that deadline to give both chambers of Congress time to pass the legislation and send it to Biden for his signature.

The biggest sticking point relates to the division of where discretionary spending levels should be set in the coming years. Although the White House has proposed a freeze in spending levels for the coming fiscal year, Republicans want aggressive spending cuts long before they start to rise again.

“They’re just coming up with the freeze idea?” McCarthy said.

The two parties are also sparring over adding new work requirements to social safety net programs. As the talks have progressed, Democrats have grown increasingly impatient, suggesting that Biden should find a way to unilaterally avoid default on constitutional grounds, even though such a solution would be legally risky.

“I’ve said from the beginning that McCarthy is too weak a speaker and his MAGA caucus is too controlled by Trump to make any reasonable deal,” Maryland Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Former President’s Make America Great Again slogan.

But McCarthy insisted a deal was still possible. “I believe we can still get there, and get there before June 1.”

Kentucky Republican Andy Barr of the House Financial Services Committee said Biden needs to be more “serious” about negotiations.

The White House still needed to “recognize” that the country’s “full confidence and credit” needed to be secured to put the US on a “more sustainable fiscal path” — while “avoiding default in the short term.” Only part of the answer, Barr added.

“That realization needs to happen very quickly on the other side of the aisle”, he said.