Democrats and Republicans inched towards a deal Friday, ahead of a long weekend, to extend the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a crippling default that could hit the world's biggest economy within days.
As the Treasury's estimated deadline of next Thursday for the government running out of money loomed, there were glimmers of optimism in Washington that the two sides will finally compromise.
According to unconfirmed U.S. media reports, this would include agreement to cover the $31 trillion -- and growing -- U.S. debt for two years, meaning no repeat of the current drama before the 2024 presidential election.
Democrats would offer concessions on demands for sweeping spending limits on social safety and other domestic programs passed in the Republican "Limit, Save, Grow Act" in April, but dismissed by leaders in the Democratic-majority Senate as "extreme."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in Congress, told reporters negotiators had "made progress" on Thursday but added: "Nothing is agreed to until it's all agreed to."
"We passed a bill. Nobody else in Washington has. It raises the debt limit, it curves back our spending, brings back wasteful money and actually unshackles what's holding us back," he added.
Pressure to reach some sort of arrangement and authorize the government to borrow more money needed for existing commitments is deepening.
According to the Treasury, next Thursday is when the government coffers could run dry -- leaving some domestic bills, and international creditors, unpaid.
More optimistic assessments give little more than a couple extra weeks before the cataclysm which would likely trigger stock market selloffs, huge job losses and recession.
With the country marking Memorial Day on Monday, members of Congress are leaving Washington on a 10-day recess. Even President Joe Biden -- to the consternation of some in his own party -- is heading to his Camp David retreat and his private home in Delaware.
Yet Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, told CNN that both Biden and McCarthy were focused on avoiding catastrophe.
"The president decided, the speaker has said it, and we have to get something done before June," Adeyemo said. "The president is committed to making sure that we have good faith negotiations with the Republicans to reach a deal because the alternative is catastrophic for all Americans."
On Thursday, Biden had also tried to reassure the country, saying: "There will be no default."
The debt ceiling raise is an annual accounting maneuver that usually passes with relatively little notice. It simply allows the government to keep borrowing money to pay for bills already incurred through the budget.
This year, the increasingly hard-right Republican Party has decided to turn the debt ceiling into leverage to force Biden to roll back favorite Democratic spending priorities.
Republicans call this taking responsibility for the $31 trillion national debt. The White House accuses the opposition party, which controls the House of Representatives, of taking the economy hostage.
Democratic minority leader Hakeem Jeffries slammed the Republicans from the House floor on Thursday, accusing them of risking "a dangerous default in a crisis that they've created."
Economists have spent months raising the prospect of economic catastrophe should the government default, and top military brass added their own dire prognosis Thursday, warning that the crisis would have a "significant negative impact" on troops.
"Readiness clearly would be impacted," Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.
McCarthy has pointed to a CNN poll out this week which showed 60 percent support for a debt ceiling hike if accompanied by cuts, although 51 percent of respondents in a new Monmouth University survey said they wanted the two issues to be separated.
Although lawmakers are on recess, McCarthy has said they will get 24 hours' notice if they are required to return for a vote.© 2023 AFP
Word on the street is that the GOP is fuming at the deal McCartney is reported to have asked for and are now asking for additional demands to blow up the process.
Sad if true if Republicans holding working Americans' social safety net hostage to enshrine tax benefits for their corporate oligarch masters has been successful.
It has happened far too often since Reagan, and Biden himself and the Democrats have often been complicit.
Sad if this holds true and there is more Republican socialism for the rich with the Orwellian named "Limit, Save, Grow Act" . Irony is a lion's share of social welfare service goes to Red States.
After Trump and the republicans gave trillions of tax cuts to the super rich and left the government 8 trillion dollars more in the hole, the republicans are now going after affordable medicine, school lunches for poor kids and social security.
Who do they serve?
Speculation at best, we don't know the full details, but I am definitely liking the man more and more with each passing day.
It’s too early to tell anything for sure but a deal with a freeze would take this debt ceiling idiocy off the table until after Trump is defeated again AND no government shutdown this fall.
The fact that the Freedumb caucus is complaining tells one that it might be within the parameters of the acceptable if not preferable.
That goes both ways seeing how Biden has been grumbling about the entire talks.
Ineptitude is an unusual trait to admire. Is that why you like desantis so much too?
Biden has been radio silent thus far.
Captain whatabout has nothing to add.
Can a "hmmmmm" or an "I disagree" be far behind?
The embodiment of the old maxim "A's hire B's. B's hire C's"
In the case, its a Q fan-boying a W. To be fair, it could be the other way around. So far down the alphabet, it doesn't really matter.
As per this admin?
I like the guy for a multitude of reasons.
Then maybe he shouldn't negotiate with Kevin, Biden should throw in the towel.
The GOP is teeing up a new round of tax cuts to further increase the deficit and thereby the debt.
But don't worry. They'll still say they care about the debt. So we have that goin' for us.
No, kevin mccarthy. As per your statement.
I think more like Biden from the looks of his frown.
I guess this theater is about to end...
Biden and McConnell have likely hammered out a deal weeks ago, then gave Kevin a "helping hand" by letting him go out and pontificate and posture for two weeks to show his Kook Caucus he's fighting the good MAGA fight... Just another "reality show" fake narrative...
But that won't stop the far-right, crazed bomb throwers who only want to cause chaos and destruction by cratering the US economy...
Who will launch the first "motion to vacate" - MTG? Gaetz? Boerbert? Gosar?
Kevin better get ready for the MAGA-mutiny...
AKA "The 4 morons of the Apocalypse"
I wouldn't mind discourse, at all, if the Republicans didn't have such a recent history of hysteria and promote flat out poor human qualities of lying, name calling and lack of empathy toward each and every countryman in the United States.
Any person, whether liberal or in the middle of even right leaning, who sees a right wing that promotes an insurrection on the basis of lies and untruths and unfound conspiracies will not respect their voice.
To have support for a Trump figure, who is blatantly racist, supports groups like the Proud Boys, an Aryan group who promotes only their own agenda of fear and anger over fair and just humanitarian issues is not a way to get respect to listen to the right wing.
If you truly believe it is a fair and simple question, the answer is for the Republicans to not spew emotional narrative but to be critical thinkers. All of them. To find all the factual information on an issue, and do so with the resolve of wanting the truth. It is that simple, but obvious to any one who isn't a Trump follower, this just isn't part of the Republican belief, they want to make up their subjective viewpoint ubiquitously.
Simply, the Republicans skip the part of gathering all information objectively, and only cherry picking the information they want.
And no, people who are liberals like me, do not adhere to finding only truths that fit a liberal agenda. It is pragmatic, as it should be. Backed by facts and often by scientific research, as in the COVID vaccine issue of the past where Trump called COVID a hoax and actually said you can inject hydroxychloroquine directly, which an old couple in Arizona did and died for it. He denounced the vaccine, but then was getting it. Why? Because the base conservatives want to deny the scientific research done to want to believe one of their conspiracies. Just like they deny global warming as a scientific proof of what is happening with the earth.
So, the answer to your fair and simple question is a fair and simple answer: always look for truths.
I realize all you will say is the liberals lie, but it's a false comparison because it isn't a base problem with liberals, it is with conservatives. They created a network like Fox to support and spew those lies with an echo chamber abandon. If the Republicans want everyone in America to listen to them, quit believing lies are good. You keep proving this over and over that twisting stories to 'prove' your point is so often about using the echo chamber lies created by fox and Trump and if you say it over and over, it 'poof!', becomes truth and it isn't so.