Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling resumed after a few hours' pause on Friday, May 19. Emissaries from both sides quickly resolved their differences and agreed to return to the table to try to reach an agreement before June 1, the date on which the United States is set to default for the first time in its history.
The conversations had been paused on Friday, May 19, when Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA), one of the envoys from Kevin McCarthy in the negotiations, assured that his side had decided “to press pause because it’s just not productive.” The congressman said the disruption would be maintained “until people are willing to have reasonable conversations.”
His words were reinforced by a White House official, who indicated that there had been a cooling off in recent hours. “There are real differences between the parties on budget issues, and talks will be difficult. The president’s team is working hard towards a reasonable bipartisan solution that can pass the House and the Senate,” he said.
However, the momentary pause didn’t last long, as both parties agreed to resume negotiations on Friday night. The meeting was held on Capitol Hill and was attended by Graves and Patrick T. McHenry on behalf of Speaker McCarthy. White House counsel Steve Ricchetti and the White House budget director, Shalanda Young, were in attendance on behalf of Joe Biden.
The White House is moving backward in negotiations.
Unfortunately, the socialist wing of the Democrat Party appears to be in control—especially with President Biden out of the country.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) May 20, 2023
More meetings took place over the weekend, although they were not entirely productive. McCarthy weighed in on the matter on Saturday and via his Twitter account. “The White House is moving backward in negotiations. Unfortunately, the socialist wing of the Democrat Party appears to be in control—especially with President Biden out of the country,” the speaker wrote. McHenry also commented on the matter and clarified that reaching an agreement before Monday was practically impossible.
The spokesman clarified that he does not see a deal happening while the president is abroad. Biden is currently attending the G-7 summit in Japan. “I don’t think we can move forward until the president can return to the country,” the Republican added Saturday.
The White House responded in a statement. “Let’s be clear: The President’s team is ready to meet any time. And, let’s be serious about what can pass in a bipartisan manner, get to the president’s desk and reduce the deficit. It is only a Republican leadership beholden to its MAGA wing — not the President or Democratic leadership — who are threatening to put our nation into default for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met,” the message reads.
Pressure over the debt ceiling forced the president to cut short the length of his trip. He was scheduled to make several stops in Australia and Papua New Guinea, which he had to cancel to “be back for final negotiations with congressional leaders.”