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Debt ceiling deal in sight as Biden and Republicans continue to negotiate | american politics

Debt ceiling deal in sight as Biden and Republicans continue to negotiate |  american politics


On Thursday, Joe Biden and Republican lawmakers looked set to strike a deal to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling, with little time to spare to avoid a potential default that could wreak havoc on the economy and communities. global markets.

The deal negotiators are considering would raise the government’s debt ceiling to $31.4 billion for two years while capping spending on most items, a U.S. official told Reuters. It would also increase funding for discretionary spending for military and veterans while essentially holding non-defense discretionary spending at current-year levels, the official said.

The deal would specify the total amount the government could spend on discretionary programs, including housing and education, according to a person familiar with the talks. The two sides, who met virtually on Thursday, are only $70 billion apart out of a total figure believed to be well over $1 billion, another source said.

Republican negotiators backed away from plans to increase military spending while cutting non-military spending and instead backed a push by the White House to treat the two budget items more equally. Conversations are expected to continue into the night.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters Thursday night that the two sides had not reached an agreement. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, he said.

The U.S. House adjourned Thursday for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but lawmakers were told to be ready to return to vote if a deal is reached.

Lawmakers left Washington for their home districts as advisers to McCarthy, and members of the Biden administration continued to haggle over details.

President McCarthy and I have had several productive conversations, and our teams continue to meet as we speak, in fact, and they are moving forward, Biden said Thursday at the White House. There will be no default, and it is time for Congress to act now.

Stressing that default was not an option, Biden said negotiations have focused on creating the outlines of a budget that can win bipartisan support, as the president and McCarthy clash over their competing visions. for America.

President McCarthy and I have a very different view of who should bear the burden of the extra effort to get our finances in order, Biden said. I don’t believe that the entire burden should rest on the backs of middle-class and working-class Americans. My House Republican friends disagree.

With just a week to go before the potential June 1 deadline, negotiators plan to continue their efforts to reach a deal over the holiday weekend. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, McCarthy said the previous days’ talks continued well past midnight and negotiators met around the clock until a deal was reached.

I thought we had made progress, McCarthy said. There are still a few outstanding issues and I have asked our teams to work 24/7.

Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, one of the lead Republican negotiators in the talks, said he did not expect a deal to be announced Thursday.

Everything is sensitive right now, McHenry told reporters. There is a balance to be found and there is still a lot of work to do. But the work that was being done was focusing on an increasingly narrow range of issues.

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Defense spending emerged as a key point of tension in the talks, as congressional Republicans pushed to exempt the Pentagon from possible budget cuts. Democrats have flatly rejected that proposal, insisting they won’t allow non-defense priorities like education and health care to bear any proposed cuts.

According to the Associated Press, Republicans have expressed openness to the idea of ​​keeping defense spending at levels proposed by the Biden administration while redirecting some of the funds previously allocated to the Internal Revenue Service.

As negotiators moved closer to a deal, some far-right lawmakers complicated things for McCarthy by adding additional demands to their budget wish list.

On Thursday, members of the House Freedom Caucus sent a letter to McCarthy asking him to add border security provisions to the debt ceiling bill while cutting funding for the construction of a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

They also demanded that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen provide evidence to support the threat of a default as soon as June 1.

The power of an undivided Republican party guided by conservative principles cannot be overstated, the Republican members wrote to McCarthy. As you navigate the debt limit debate, you are the guardian of this unity and will determine whether it continues to grow stronger and mark this Congress historically or if it evaporates.

The letter pointed out that McCarthy would likely need Democratic support to secure a compromise on the debt ceiling in the House, but his colleagues across the aisle have been sharply critical of Republican proposed spending cuts. and their decision to leave Washington without a deal.

Republicans have decided to leave town, Progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said in a floor speech Thursday. They blame the Democrats, saying we spend too much. For anyone who wants to entertain this thought, I ask you to think of the last time someone said in this country that the government was doing too much for them, that their social security check was too high, that teachers were overpaid. When was the last time anyone heard or saw this?




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