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Debt talks halted again on Friday, with no resolution in sight

Talks were stopped and resumed, and then stopped again on Friday, despite the White House saying that progress was being made.
Debt ceiling talks on hold, GOP negotiator tells reporters
Posted at 11:49 AM, May 19, 2023

Debt limit talks halted again late on Friday, as Republican negotiators said they weren't certain what the next steps would be.

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina said after the meetings ended Friday that he was not confident of reaching an agreement with the White House before the rapidly approaching deadline.

Talks had been paused for a first time and then resumed earlier on Friday, offering new hope that the U.S. might quickly work out a deal to avert default in early June.

The first time talks were stopped, Rep. Garret Graves told reporters  that it was time to "press pause" in negotiations with the White House. 

"It’s time to press pause because it’s just not productive," Graves told reporters, according to the Associated Press. 

Graves was tasked by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to lead negotiations in the high-stake meetings. Officials said failure to increase the debt ceiling could cause dire consequences for the U.S. economy. 

Just hours prior, while attending the G7 summit in Japan, a White House official told reporters that White House negotiators informed President Biden that "steady progress is being made." 

"He remains confident that Congress will take necessary action to avoid default," the White House said. 

The White House said President Biden spent 20-30 minutes with his negotiators ahead of Friday morning's meeting with Graves.

And on Friday afternoon, White House officials told Scripps News they were still holding out hope for a deal.

Both parties have drawn a line in the sand on how to address it. Democrats have insisted on a bill that just addresses the debt limit. McCarthy said Republicans want to include spending cuts on non-discretionary programs.

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. remains on track to reach the debt limit in early June. 

“If Congress fails to increase the debt limit, it would cause severe hardship to American families, harm our global leadership position, and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests,” Yellen wrote. 

The Treasury says the U.S. debt limit is “the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.”

Yellen has warned that the U.S. exceeding its debt limit could cause a disruption to things like Social Security payments. 

SEE MORE: What do Republicans want in the debt ceiling fight?

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