President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are expected to meet on Monday to get debt ceiling negotiations back on track.
McCarthy said the plan for another round of face-to-face talks between the leaders emerged from a “productive” conversation by phone as Biden flew back to the United States from Japan on Sunday.
“I think we can solve some of these problems if he understands what we’re looking at,” the speaker told reporters on Capitol Hill, according to the Associated Press. “But I’ve been very clear to him from the very beginning. We have to spend less money than we spent last year.”
The White House confirmed the pair spoke by phone on Sunday and made arrangements to revive negotiations that had hit a snag leading into the weekend.
“Their staffs will reconvene at 6 p.m. this evening to discuss remaining issues. The President and the Speaker will meet later tomorrow,” a White House official told reporters.
Time is running out to end the standoff between the White House and the GOP-led House, which passed a bill that would allow the limit to be lifted by $1.5 trillion in exchange for spending cuts and reforms. Congressional leaders met with Biden at the White House last week, underscoring progress made in creating a dialogue, but conversations were stop-and-go heading the weekend.
“There’s a lot of things that they refuse to entertain, and they just said revenue is off the table,” Biden said of GOP negotiators during a press conference before leaving Japan. “Well, revenue is not off the table. And so, that’s what I — we continue to have a significant disagreement on, on the revenue side.”
While some Democrats in Congress have pushed Biden to consider a “Plan B,” Republicans are focused on reaching an agreement with the White House.
Biden is “just making more excuses not to negotiate a responsible debt ceiling deal that will raise the debt ceiling, pay our bills, protect the good faith and credit of the United States, but also deal with the spending problem,” House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) told ABC News on Sunday.
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The Treasury Department said it has been enacting “extraordinary measures” since January when the United States hit its statutory limit of roughly $31.4 trillion, and has warned of dire economic consequences if the country is unable to reach a deal to lift the debt ceiling.
During an appearance Sunday on NBC, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned the federal government would likely no longer be unable to meet all its financial obligations by mid-June.
“There’s always uncertainty about tax receipts and spending,” Yellen said. “And so it’s hard to be absolutely certain about this, but my assessment is that the odds of reaching June 15th, while being able to pay all of our bills, is quite low.”