US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters with US Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by his side after talks on debt relief at the White House in Washington, US, 9 May 2023
Kevin Lamarck | Reuters
On and off again on Capitol Hill, the debate over the debt ceiling returned again, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Saturday that Republicans would only resume negotiations when President Joe Biden returned from the U.S. summit. -7 in Japan.
“Unfortunately, the White House has gone backwards,” McCarthy said of the ongoing debate over the debt ceiling. “I don’t think we will be able to move forward until the president is back in the country,” he added.
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On Saturday night, the Biden administration countered that Republicans were the ones who came up with a debt ceiling proposal on Friday that was a “big step backwards,” saying the proposal contained “extreme partisan demands that could never pass both houses of Congress. “
“Only the Republican leadership under its MAGA wing — not the president or the Democratic leadership — is threatening to put our nation into default for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met,” according to a statement from Biden press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre .
Biden is due back in Washington, D.C., from the G7 summit on Sunday. The president told a news conference from the summit that he was “not at all” concerned about the negotiations and believed “we will be able to avoid bankruptcy and do something decent.”
McCarthy’s revelation that negotiations are back on hold, at least for now, is the latest obstacle to the congressional debate over what to do with the pending debt limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has set June 1 as the earliest date the United States could run out of money to pay debts the government has already incurred.
Any deal to raise or suspend the debt limit would have to pass both the GOP-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate, and key lawmakers from both parties have acknowledged that a potential compromise bill could be unacceptable to the hardliners.
High-stakes talks to raise the debt limit resumed at the Capitol on Friday night, hours after they broke off at noon when Republican negotiators walked out of the room, blaming the White House for stalling the discussions.