Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday signaled there had been little progress in debt ceiling negotiations over the weekend, accusing Democrats and the White House of wanting “a default more than a deal.”
“I still think we’re far apart. It doesn’t seem to me yet they want a deal, it just seems like they want to look like they are in a meeting but they’re not taking anything serious,” McCarthy told NBC and CNN when walking into his office Monday.
“It seems like they want a default more than a deal,” McCarthy added, echoing his sentiments from last week.
McCarthy’s assessment is a contrast from that of President Biden and his administration, which has been signaling progress in the talks. Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that debt ceiling negotiations have been “constructive.”
Negotiators last week postponed a meeting between President Biden and the top four congressional leaders scheduled for last Friday, though staff-level negotiations have occurred since the five leaders met last Tuesday. Another meeting with the five principals could reportedly occur as soon as Tuesday.
Republicans are demanding spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s borrowing cap.
Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier this month that the nation could default on its obligations as soon as June 1 if Congress does not act to raise the limit, leading to severe economic consequences.
McCarthy said negotiators must reach a deal in the next few days in order to meet that deadline.
“I think we’ve got to have a deal done by this weekend to be able to have a timeline to be able to pass it,” McCarthy said.
Later this week, Biden will depart on a trip to Japan and Australia that will stretch into next week.
The Senate is scheduled to leave town for two weeks after this week, and the House is scheduled to be out during the week of Memorial Day.
House Republicans say that the four top areas of compromise in the debt limit talks are implementing spending caps, permitting reform for energy projects, implementing new work requirements on benefit programs and clawing back unused funds appropriated to combat the effects of COVID-19.
“He hasn’t taken it serious,” McCarthy said of Biden.