‘I don’t know for today’: Debt talks remain stalled

President Joe Biden and Chairman Kevin McCarthy will speak Saturday night as the two sides try to work through the remaining hurdles to reaching a sweeping deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

The 6 p.m. call, confirmed to POLITICO by a person familiar, comes as the two sides hoped to reach an agreement on Saturday. Instead, GOP negotiators have indicated they remain divided on two broad areas: job requirements and spending levels. Other areas, such as reform authorization, also continue to evolve.

“We’ve been close for three days. … Big thorny issues remain. Some that the president and the president are going to have to address,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.), one of the GOP leaders. negotiators.

Biden also spoke with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier on Saturday, the person familiar said.

Meanwhile, McCarthy met with members of his whip team on Saturday — including GOP Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and his deputy, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.). Emmer, asked about the possibility of a deal on Saturday, pointed to the White House, saying, “We’ll see what the president says.”

“We’ll know soon if the president is really interested in making sure we don’t default,” he added.

The GOP whip’s team has been in touch in recent days as they prepare for the challenge of rallying much of their conference — many of whom have opposed debt increases over the past two years — to support an agreement. Emmer and his deputies, however, focused on the process of what will happen once they close the deal, instead of talking about the substance of a potential deal.

But the Minnesota Republican had a veiled message for conservatives – who circulated warning shots about the details of a possible deal throughout Saturday: Don’t believe it until you hear from leaders of the GOP.

“Our job is to make sure that the members are well aware that there is no agreement. … We are constantly in contact with our members to let them know that what is reported, you should not accept it. There is no deal,” Emmer said.

The Tories, meanwhile, warned they did not like what they were hearing about an emergent plan. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) tweeted that he worries Republicans are giving too much in return for a debt ceiling hike, comparing the House GOP bill with what might be in the bills. bipartite agreements.

“If job requirements are what become the centerpiece of a ‘deal’, then there should be no deal. Talk about holding the wrong line,” he wrote.

Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.) urged Republicans not to “fix” a debt crisis he says Democrats created, adding “No Republican capitulation.”

McCarthy needs a majority in his conference to back a deal, part of an understanding of Republicans stuck in the speaker race. On Saturday, the California Republican acknowledged that he risked losing votes on his side of the aisle.
“I failed to get every member to vote first,” McCarthy said. “I didn’t ask all the members to vote for me as a speaker.”

The GOP powwow comes as Republicans entered the day looking optimistic about progress toward a deal. Arriving at the Capitol earlier Saturday morning, McCarthy told reporters there was no deal yet but he felt “closer to a deal now than I have in a long time because I see progress.

“But listen, it’s not easy in any form,” he added.

Since then, McCarthy has remained largely huddled in his office, in addition to having lunch at Chipotle with senior House negotiators, Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.) and Patrick McHenry (RN.C.). McCarthy joked to a group of reporters upon his return for not reading too much into his lunch selection.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden left Washington on Friday night to spend the weekend at Camp David, expressing optimism for a quick deal shortly before his departure. White House negotiators working on his behalf have continued to communicate with House Republicans by phone and in virtual meetings.

Biden continues to speak with his negotiating team several times a day and signs offers and counter-offers, according to a White House official, on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to contextualize the recorded talks.

Earlier Saturday, McHenry told reporters a deal was hours or days away. McCarthy declined to be more specific.

The California Republican said negotiators were working on “a number of different things.”

The two sides exchanged texts late Friday night, with McHenry noting that GOP negotiators worked until about 2:30 a.m. as the two sides raced to try to hammer out a long-sought deal. Emmer said early Saturday night that talks were still ongoing.

Earlier this week, GOP lawmakers and the White House were closing in on a tentative plan to cap spending for two years in exchange for lifting the debt cap for two years.

But they’re still trying to iron out some of the tougher negotiating points, including GOP demands for new job demands. The White House called them “designed to tie the most vulnerable to bureaucratic red tape.”

On Saturday, negotiators were also at odds over whether to authorize the reform, according to people familiar with the talks, raising the possibility that it will be scrapped. A coalition of GOP-aligned groups warned McCarthy that it might be best to leave him out of negotiations, adding, “A bad permit deal is worse than no deal at all.”

McHenry acknowledged they were in the final stages, adding, “What I didn’t anticipate was that we would have a very short roster for a very long time.”

On Friday night, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the country would run out of funds by June 5, crystallizing the Congressional deadline. According to earlier estimates, the country could default as early as June 1.

McCarthy said he had not spoken with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries in the past 24 hours and reiterated that he would give lawmakers 72 hours to read the text of the bill before a vote. This means that if the text is published on Saturday, the House could vote as early as Tuesday.

The pledge could also bring Congress closer to the June 5 deadline. The Senate should need at least a few days to hammer out a deal, which McCarthy said would be around 150 pages or less.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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