McCarthy says debt negotiations can’t resume until Biden returns

McCarthy says debt negotiations can’t resume until Biden returns

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the US Senate Minority Republican leader, at his side, speaks to reporters after debt limit talks at the White House in Washington, United States, May 9, 2023.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The back-and-forth deliberations on Capitol Hill over the debt ceiling have stalled again, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Saturday. Republicans will not resume negotiations until President Joe Biden returns from the Group of Seven summit in Japan.

“Unfortunately, the White House has backed out,” McCarthy said of the current deliberations on the debt ceiling. “I don’t think we can move forward until the President can come back to the country,” he added.

Biden is scheduled to return to Washington, DC from the G7 summit on Sunday. The President said at a press conference ahead of the summit he was “not at all” concerned about the negotiations and believes “we’ll be able to avoid a default and get something decent done.”

McCarthy’s revelation that talks are again on hold, at least for now, is the latest hurdle in Congressional debate over what to do with the impending debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pointed to June 1 as the earliest the United States could run out of money to pay off debt it has already incurred with the government.

Any agreement to raise or suspend the debt limit must pass both the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate, and key lawmakers from both parties have conceded that the eventual compromise bill could be unacceptable to hardliners.

Explosive talks over raising the debt limit resumed Friday night in the Capitol, hours after being interrupted at noon when Republican negotiators left the room blaming the White House for delaying discussions.