Meetings Yield Little Progress in Debt Limit Talks

May 11, 2023

The White House and congressional leaders resumed talks this week on raising the debt limit but both sides are negotiating from the same entrenched positions: Republicans want major spending cuts included as part of the deal and President Biden and congressional Democrats want a clean debt ceiling hike.

House Republicans passed a bill last month that has 10 years of tight spending caps coupled with a $1.5 trillion debt limit increase or suspension to March 31, 2024, whichever comes first.

Biden is scheduled to meet again tomorrow with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). Yesterday, Biden said Republicans are “holding the economy hostage” in their unwillingness to pass a clean debt limit increase as the threat of default grows.

After an unproductive meeting earlier this week, McCarthy said of Biden, “I would hope that he would be willing to negotiate for the next two weeks so we can actually solve this problem and not take America to the brink. The progress that was made was that we were actually able to meet.”

The Treasury Department has already initiated a series of technical moves known as “extraordinary measures” to avoid a potentially disastrous default on the nation’s debt. These moves are expected to hold the government over until early June.

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