House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he hopes to reach an agreement with the White House on lifting the debt ceiling shortly.
McCarthy stated that staff will meet at the White House that day “to try to finish up the discussions” between House Republicans and President Joe Biden, and emphasized that expenditure cutbacks remain a requirement of any debt ceiling increase.
The speaker also mentioned that “there’s a number of places that we are still far apart.”
In April, House Republicans enacted the Limit, Save, and Grow Act, which would lift the debt ceiling until early next year while substantially cutting expenditure. The bill's contents include rescinding recent IRS funding, eliminating climate-related elements of the Inflation Reduction Act, and tightening job requirements for welfare users.
The cuts are intended to help reign in government spending, which Republicans claim has contributed to the development of the national debt, which now stands at $31 trillion.
With the bill's passing, Biden has been under increasing pressure to provide a credible alternative to McCarthy by June 1, the earliest date on which a potentially catastrophic debt default might occur, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Any option would have to pass muster in both the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
For months, the president and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have requested a clean debt limit rise, that is, a ceiling raise without restrictions.
McCarthy reaffirmed Wednesday that this is still a no-go for House Republicans, forcing Biden to come to the table and make at least some of the House GOP's requested concessions.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus and others on the party's hard right have indicated that they will not accept a watered-down version of their already-passed bill, implying that the speaker will need House Democrats to fall in line behind Biden if and when an agreement is reached in order to secure a majority vote.
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