Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker (R-CA), told reporters on Wednesday that he hopes to reach a deal with the White House soon regarding the debt ceiling.
McCarthy said that staff would meet at the White House that day “to finish the negotiations” between House Republicans, and President Joe Biden. McCarthy also made it clear that any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by spending cuts.
The speaker acknowledged that “there are a few places where we’re still far apart.”
The Limit, Save, Grow Act was passed by the House Republicans in April. It would increase the debt ceiling until early next year, while drastically cutting spending. The bill includes provisions such as blocking Biden’s bailout of student loans, cancelling recent funding for the IRS, repealing climate related parts of the Inflation Reduction Act and increasing work requirements for welfare beneficiaries.
Republicans claim that the cuts will help to rein in government expenditures, which, they say, have led to an increase of the national debt. It now stands at $31 trillion.
Biden has been under increasing pressure since the bill was passed to provide a viable alternative before June 1. This is the earliest possible date that a catastrophic default on debt could occur according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Any alternative would need to be able to pass both the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate.
The President and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (DNY) have been demanding a clean debt limit increase for months. This means that the ceiling would be raised without any conditions.
McCarthy said Wednesday that this is a non-option to House Republicans. This has forced Biden, who was reluctant to negotiate, to at least make some concessions to the House GOP.
House Freedom Caucus and other hard-right members of the party indicated that they did not want to accept a watered down version of the bill already passed. This suggests the speaker would need House Democrats to line up behind Biden when and if an agreement is reached to ensure a majority vote.
Rep. Chip Roy, (R-TX), one of the leading voices for Freedom Caucus, wrote to his colleagues in a memo obtained by Breitbart that he wanted McCarthy to “hold the line’ on certain terms within the Limit, Save, Grow Act.
McCarthy told reporters that, when asked about how he managed to get a majority vote amongst the different party factions of the lower chamber as the threat of default loomed, he had already led the passage of one debt measure.
You underestimated me all the time. You should know that I will always fight for the American people. Yes. He said, “We passed a law.”
After a dramatic change in tone this month, from a refusal to negotiate, to almost daily talks with the Speaker on finding a working solution, the White House also said that a deal is possible.
Karine Jean Pierre, White House Press Secretary, said: “We still believe that there is an opportunity to reach a bipartisan deal.”
McCarthy said: “I’m also adamant that we will be able get there.”