When Congressional leaders left the White House Tuesday, the plans were for them to meet and discuss the debt ceiling limit with President Biden again Friday, but that meeting has been rescheduled to next week.
Congressional Correspondent Nathaniel Reed reported on the latest details, sharing that the rescheduling is reportedly a good sign.
It means that while the principles are not present — Speaker Kevin McCarthy, President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries — their staff members are actively continuing discussions. However, despite the discussions being ongoing and reportedly moving in a productive direction, the public bomb-throwing is continuing.
"The staff has met the last two days. We think it's productive for the staff to meet again," Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. "I have not seen the seriousness of the White House that they want a deal. It seems like they want to default more than they want a deal."
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the staff does still have a meeting on the schedule Friday.
There's a lot of pressure to push back the meeting with the principles, as President Biden is slated to go to Japan later next week. Meanwhile, the Treasury Secretary has said the U.S. could default for the first time in American history as soon as June 1.
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Republicans have been very clear they want to see spending cuts, in addition to raising the debt limit. In fact, they passed a bill in the House of Representatives with no Democratic support, which does just that. It represents what Democrats say is up to a 22% cut to U.S. spending, which they say could greatly hurt programs like air traffic control, and infrastructure programs in the CHIPS Bill. Democrats have maintained they want to raise the debt limit with no preconditions and no spending cuts.
"The president has been clear that we need to take the possibility of default off the table. And at the meeting that he convened with Congressional leadership a few days ago, folks agreed on that point," said National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti. "At the same time, as he's said, he's more than happy to have discussions about tax and budget and other spending-related issues. We have two very different visions — us and the Republicans — on this point and those conversations are ongoing at the staff level. So, I expect the president and the congressional leaders to get back together next week if all things go according to plan, but staff conversations will continue in the meantime."
What we're starting to see reported is the possibility of a spending caps deal — not as drastic as what Republicans had originally pushed for, but capping spending in exchange for raising the debt limit. That is reportedly what these discussions right now between staff members is centering on. At this point, it's still expected that President Biden, Speaker McCarthy and the rest of congressional leadership will have a sit-down at some point early next week.
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