Home » Debt ceiling talks ‘paused’: Republican negotiator calls White House demands ‘unreasonable’

Debt ceiling talks ‘paused’: Republican negotiator calls White House demands ‘unreasonable’

by Press room

Debt ceiling talks are now on ‘pause,’ according to House Republicans, after all sides expressed hope earlier this week that there could be a deal on the horizon. 

Rep. Garrett Graves followed White House negotiators out of a meeting in the speaker’s office and told reporters they had pressed pause on negotiations. 

He called talks ‘not productive’ and said the Biden administration was making ‘unreasonable’ requests.  

‘Yeah we got a pause,’ Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed to reporters, after only yesterday expressing hope there could be a deal on the floor by next week. 

‘We’ve got to get movement by the White House and we don’t have any movement yet,’ McCarthy said. 

‘Yesterday I really felt we were at the location where I could see the path – the White House is just – look, we can’t be spending more money next year.’ 

The news broke while President Biden was snoozing away in Japan for the G-7 Summit – at around 1:30 a.m. local time. The White House said they would brief him on updates in the morning. 

Rep. Garrett Graves followed White House negotiators out of a meeting in the speaker’s office and told reporters they had pressed pause on negotiations

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, left, and Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, the top negotiators for President Joe Biden on the debt limit crisis, head for the exit after talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's emissaries came to an abrupt halt

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, left, and Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, the top negotiators for President Joe Biden on the debt limit crisis, head for the exit after talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s emissaries came to an abrupt halt

The White House confirmed talks ‘will be difficult.’

‘There are real differences between the parties on budget issues and talks will be difficult. The President’s team is working hard towards a reasonable bipartisan solution that can pass the House and the Senate,’ a White House spokesperson said. 

There are now less than two weeks before the Treasury could run out of funds to pay the nation’s bills on June 1. 

On Thursday McCarthy had said he wants a floor vote next week on the deal and said he’s spoken to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on timing for a vote. The Senate adjourned Thursday and will be out next week, but Schumer instructed senators to be in a position to return to Washington on 24 hours’ notice if necessary. 

‘The negotiations are currently making progress, as Speaker McCarthy has said he expects the House will vote next week if an agreement is reached, and the Senate would begin consideration after that,’ Schumer said.  

However, members of the House Freedom Caucus are digging in to the right, adopting a new position that calls for ‘no further discussion’ until the Senate passes the House GOP’s Limit Save Grow Act. 

‘The House Freedom Caucus calls on Speaker McCarthy and Senate Republicans to use every leverage and tool at their disposal to ensure the Limit, Save, Grow Act is signed into law.

There should be no further discussion until the Senate passes the legislation.’

It remains to be seen whether hardline Republicans will accept a negotiated deal that is less conservative than the party-line bill the House passed. 

A Freedom Caucus source said the new demand was meant to signal to leadership: ‘Stop talking about watering down the [House GOP] bill.’ 

‘Keep negotiating by all means, just start adding not removing policies.’ 

President Trump issued his own similar warning to Republicans on Truth Social. 

‘REPUBLICANS SHOULD NOT MAKE A DEAL ON THE DEBT CEILING UNLESS THEY GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT (Including the “kitchen sink”). THAT’S THE WAY THE DEMOCRATS HAVE ALWAYS DEALT WITH US. DO NOT FOLD!!!’ 

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats led by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., rolled out a letter Thursday demanding President Biden invoke the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress and unilaterally raise the debt limit. 

‘It is unfortunate that Republicans in the House and Senate are not acting in good faith,’ the letter read. ‘We write to urgently request that you prepare to exercise your authority under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.’

But the message in the letter is markedly different from that coming out of leadership on both sides, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying there could be a deal to vote on in the House next week and the Senate the week after. 

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states: ‘The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.’

The Amendment – which granted citizenship to former slaves and extended ‘equal protection under the law’ among other provisions – essentially states that the nation’s debts must be paid by the federal government in full.

Experts have interpreted that to mean Biden may have some authority to go above Congress and lift the debt borrowing cap – although there would be expected legal challenges if he bypassed the legislative branch in this manner. 

Senate Democrats led by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., rolled out a letter Thursday demanding President Biden invoke the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress and unilaterally raise the debt limit

Senate Democrats led by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., rolled out a letter Thursday demanding President Biden invoke the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress and unilaterally raise the debt limit

'This is the whole reason why the 14th Amendment exists,'Sen. John Fetterman, making a rare appearance in a news conference, said, laying out the demand

‘This is the whole reason why the 14th Amendment exists,’Sen. John Fetterman, making a rare appearance in a news conference, said, laying out the demand

Fetterman wore his signature hoodie, shorts and sneakers while the other male senators wore suits

Fetterman wore his signature hoodie, shorts and sneakers while the other male senators wore suits 

The other signers onto Sanders’ letter are: Elizabeth Warren, Mass., John Fetterman, Pa., Richard Blumenthal, Conn., Tina Smith, Minn., Ed Markey, Mass., Jeff Merkley, Ore., Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I., Peter Welch, Vt., and Mazie Hirono, Hawaii. 

‘This is the whole reason why the 14th Amendment exists,’ Fetterman, making a rare appearance in a news conference, said, laying out the demand. 

The Democrats say McCarthy’s unwillingness to raise taxes on the wealthy or big corporations makes it ‘seemingly impossible to enact a bipartisan budget deal at this time.’ 

But taking the 14th Amendment route would almost certainly prompt swift legal action. 

‘An unelected Supreme Court justice will try to blow up our economy that’s on them, if they have to judge on that,’ Fetterman said, noting the nearly-guaranteed legal challenges to the maneuver. 

‘I’ll be very blunt with you, when we get by this, I’m thinking about taking a look at, months down the road, as to see whether what the court would say about whether or not it does work,’ Biden said last week after meeting with congressional leaders. 

Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen, who has been clear about the need for Congress to act as soon as possible, also shot down the idea of using the 14th Amendment. 

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