McCarthy Signals Delay In Debt Limit Negotiations Until Biden’s Return

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) indicated on Saturday that he does not believe debt-limit talks can begin until President Biden returns to Washington.

“Unfortunately, the White House moved backward,” McCarthy said as he departed the Capitol with Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) the lead Republican negotiator, and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). “I don’t think we’ll be able to move forward until the president can return to the country.”

“Unfortunately, the socialist wing of the Democrat Party appears to be in control, especially with President Biden out of the country,” he tweeted.

The White House stated in response, accusing McCarthy’s team of “putting on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands that could never pass both Houses of Congress.”

“Let me be clear: the President’s team can meet anytime.” And, let us be serious about what we can pass bipartisanly, get to the President’s desk, and cut the deficit,” the statement read.

“It is only a Republican leadership beholden to its MAGA wing, not the President or Democratic leadership who threatens to put our nation into default for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met.”

McCarthy Signals Delay In Debt Limit Negotiations Until Biden's Return

Biden is in Hiroshima, Japan, for the Group of Seven (G-7) conference, which runs through Sunday. He had planned to visit Papua New Guinea and Australia but shortened his trip due to the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations.

At the conference on Saturday, the president stated that he is “not at all” concerned about striking an agreement to raise the debt ceiling before the United States defaults on its debt. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has frequently warned Congress that the US could default as early as June 1.

“I still believe we’ll be able to avoid a default and get something decent done,” stated Biden.

Negotiations appear to have stopped after they momentarily stalled on Friday when Republican members accused the White House of being “unreasonable” and reluctant to accept adequate spending cuts. Discussions resumed many hours later.

McCarthy’s recent remarks are a departure from his reasonably upbeat assessment of the negotiations on Thursday.

“We aren’t there. We haven’t made any decisions yet. But I see a way forward,” he told reporters on Thursday morning, adding, “It would be vital to attempt to achieve the agreement, especially in principle, by maybe this weekend.”

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