WASHINGTON: White House and congressional Republican negotiators will meet again on Tuesday to resolve a months-long impasse over raising the government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, with the nation facing the risk of default in as soon as nine days.
Aides for President Joe Biden and Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will convene again on Tuesday, McCarthy's lead negotiator said. The two parties remain deeply divided about how to rein in the federal deficit, with Democrats arguing wealthy Americans and businesses should pay more taxes while Republicans wanting spending cuts.
The Treasury Department has warned that the federal government could no longer have enough money to pay all its bills as soon as June 1, which would cause a default that would hammer the U.S. economy and push borrowing costs higher.
Republican negotiator Representative Garret Graves said he had seen little progress.
"They are refusing to truly change the trajectory, to truly reduce spending, and that is a red line," Graves told reporters at the Capitol.
Biden and McCarthy emerged from a Monday evening meeting on the debt ceiling talking about the need to find bipartisan compromise, even as they cling to policies that expose the divides between the two parties.
The lack of clear progress continued to weigh on Wall Street with U.S. stock indexes set to open lower Tuesday morning and global markets on edge.
Biden and Democrats want to freeze spending in the 2024 fiscal year at the levels adopted in 2023, arguing that would represent a spending cut because agency budgets won't match inflation. The idea was rejected by Republicans, who want spending cuts.
Biden wants to cut the deficit by raising taxes on the wealthy and closing tax loopholes for the oil and pharmaceutical industries. McCarthy declared that boosting revenue is a non-starter.
"I don't think it's a revenue problem. It's a spending problem," McCarthy said.
McCarthy told reporters that he expected to talk with Biden daily at least by telephone.
If and when Biden and McCarthy reach a deal, they will still need to sell it to their caucuses in Congress. It could easily take a week to pass a deal through the House and Senate, which would both need to approve the bill before Biden could sign it into law. — Reuters