Negotiations on the US debt ceiling resume after a break

Republican lawmakers will resume talks with the White House on the federal debt limit late Friday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said, hours after his designated negotiators walked out of the talks.

“We’ll be back in the room tonight,” McCarthy said in an interview with Fox Business. Another person familiar with the talks also confirmed they are continuing.

The resumption of talks will be seen as a sign that the two sides are moving closer to an agreement. In the absence of an agreement to raise the borrowing limit, officials have warned that the government will become insolvent after June 1.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier in the day, Louisiana Republican Congressman Garret Graves, who was McCarthy’s point person, left the Capitol Hill meeting room where the negotiations were taking place and told reporters that negotiators were “taking a press break.”

“Until people are willing to have reasonable conversations about how to actually move forward and do the right thing, we’re not going to sit here and talk to ourselves,” Graves said.

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The White House previously said: “There are real disagreements between the parties on the budget and it will be difficult to negotiate. The president’s team is working hard on a reasonable, bipartisan solution.”

Graves’ harsh words came just a day after McCarthy suggested the debt ceiling deal be brought up for a vote in the House next week. The debt ceiling deal must be passed by the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate before President Joe Biden can sign it into law.

Lawmakers are scrambling to reach a deal before June 1, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calls the so-called x-date, when the government risks running out of cash and defaulting on its obligations.

“We’re not there, we haven’t agreed on anything yet. But I see a way we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill.

But members of McCarthy’s own party poured cold water on his optimism Thursday when they suggested they would not support a deal with the White House.

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The Freedom Caucus of right-wing lawmakers issued a statement indicating that they would only support a Republican bill recently passed by the House of Representatives that ties raising the debt ceiling to steep spending cuts, a no-brainer for Democrats.

“There should be no further debate until the Senate passes the legislation,” the statement said.

The Freedom Caucus statement underscored McCarthy’s tough political balancing act as he tries to keep his often-fractious conference united while brokering a deal that satisfies Biden and congressional Democrats.

Biden is also walking a political tightrope, trying to strike a deal without alienating more progressive members of his party who have attacked the suggestion that the president could sign off on Republican demands, including tougher working conditions for people on welfare.

Biden traveled to Japan for the G7 meetings on Wednesday, but is cutting the trip short and returning to Washington on Sunday in view of the debt ceiling impasse.


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