Debt Limit Progress as Biden, McCarthy Name Top Negotiators to Avert National Default
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WASHINGTON - The United States government is treading water as the president and lawmakers negotiate a debt deal. They now have just two weeks before the country defaults on its debt.
At this point, there is still no compromise despite the latest high-level White House meeting, but there's some progress.
President Biden left for Japan Wednesday, but he's also cutting the diplomatic trip short due to debt ceiling negotiations. His staff will try to hammer out a deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R0CA) and Biden hopes to have a positive report when he returns on Sunday.
"I'm confident that we'll get an agreement on the budget and America will not default. And every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills," Biden told reporters shortly before he left for his trip to the G7 summit.
"I'm not going to accept any work requirements that's going to impact on medical health needs of people, I'm not going to accept any work requirements that go much beyond what is already there. I voted years ago for the work requirements that exist. It's possible there could be a few others, but not anything of any consequence," Biden said.
Moments after the president finished, Republicans stood together in a rare bicameral news conference at the Capitol. House GOP members stood with senators supporting the speaker's push for spending cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling. They blasted the president's unwillingness to negotiate until the very last moment.
"We passed our own bill, we never would've had a meeting had we not raised the debt ceiling ourselves. We put an idea of how to do it. The only thing I'm more optimistic about, he finally agreed to something that every other time we've been able to solve a problem has worked, the structure of negotiation," McCarthy said. "But now we're along such a short timeline, it makes it almost harder. But, if there's one thing you know from me, I'm never going to give up. I have the grit, the perseverance, and we're going to get it done."
McCarthy said striking a deal by Sunday when the president returns from his trip is "doable."
The streamlined process now involves two top White House budget negotiators talking with U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), McCarthy's choice to lead the debt talks.
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