Where do debt negotiations stand six days before the default deadline

“Here we are night after night after night. And the pressure is over. And the consequences are greater. We recognize it. We know that and the White House surely recognizes that,” he said.

There have been indications that House Republicans and the White House are making real progress. The two sides have all but finalized the spending part of the talks, a source familiar with the talks told POLITICO Thursday night.

Conservative Republicans were also circulating a list, which a Republican familiar with the matter said came from the leadership, which detailed where the two sides apparently reached an agreement. This includes: an agreement to lift the debt ceiling through 2024, a procedure in place to incentivize Congress to pass the 12 spending bills, and a plan to recover unspent Covid money.

But as the old Capitol Hill adage goes: nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. A second Republican familiar with the talks warned late Thursday that negotiators had not reached agreement on key spending numbers or the length of the debt ceiling extension. They warned that there could be no agreement on further details until these were fully ironed out.

But those leaks sparked heartburn from McCarthy’s conservative flank, threatening to shatter the unity House Republicans have portrayed since passing their own debt plan. McCarthy, however, played down criticism from the right, saying they “don’t know what’s in the deal.”

“I’m not concerned about anyone commenting at this time,” McCarthy said Friday.

And McHenry warned leaking details could hamper negotiators’ ability to strike a deal.

“The tweets, the content, the details and all that stuff, the leaks, are not for getting a deal that changes the trajectory of the country,” he said.

But both sides generally agree they are making progress, even as the country nears the June 1 deadline which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says is the earliest the country is at risk of default.

McCarthy told reporters on Friday he thought “We made some progress last night. We need to make more progress now. He and Rep. Attic graves (R-La.), the chief GOP negotiator, also held a powwow earlier Friday during a shared bike ride.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can to try to get things done, make more progress today and finish the job,” McCarthy said.

But work requirements and permit reform remain two major sticking points. The White House, according to one person familiar, “continues to press against measures it says could push Americans into poverty or take away their health care.” But McCarthy accused Democrats of wanting to pay “able-bodied without dependents” people to stay home.

“Sometimes we have philosophical differences of opinion,” McCarthy said.

Once negotiators are able to reach an agreement, lawmakers expect it will take a day or two to turn it into law. Republicans have also pledged to wait 72 hours after this is finalized before any votes – part of the deal McCarthy struck with the conservatives to win the president’s gavel.

In this scenario, negotiators will need to strike a deal on Friday or Saturday to get a bill through the House before the earliest possible default date on Thursday.

And then there is the Senate. No one expects the House to pass the bill by unanimous consent – especially after Sen. mike lee (R-Utah) has pledged to slow down the process — meaning it could take days for the upper house to pass the legislation before it reaches President Joe Biden’s office. If June 1 is the actual default date, which Yellen is likely to offer more guidance on next week, that could be a huge problem.

Sen. Chris Coon (D-Del.) said Thursday that he hopes all Democrats can support whatever legislation emerges from the negotiations, but he wasn’t sure.

“It depends on what’s in there. It’s rare that we get absolutely every vote on absolutely everything. But that should be the one you trust our president,” he said.

Sarah Ferris, Jennifer Haberkorn and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.


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