ANOTHER day ends with no debt limit deal: White House says Biden won’t use 14th Amendment
The White House and Speaker Kevin McCarthy called it quits on debt ceiling negotiations on Tuesday — eight days before a potential default with no deal in sight.
White House negotiators Steve Ricchetti and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young spent two hours on Capitol Hill before leaving around 1:30 pm.
And as the White House is facing growing pressure to invoke the 14th Amendment, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre threw cold water on the idea.
‘It is not going to fix the current problem that we have right now,’ she told reporters.
Rep. James Clyburn, former Democratic whip and a close ally of Biden, said on MSNBC Tuesday:
‘The 14th Amendment is still there and, as president of the United States, [Biden] has some authority to use it.
The White House and Speaker Kevin McCarthy called it quits on debt ceiling negotiations on Tuesday – eight days before potential default with no deal in sight
His pointed suggestion comes after a growing swell of Democrats in the House and Senate are urging Biden to give up on negotiations all together and invoke the 14th Amendment, which says, in part, that the ‘validity’ of the public debt ‘shall not be questioned.
‘I don’t think we’ll get one today,’ McCarthy told reporters of a deal to increase the nation’s borrowing limit.
Meanwhile, the left and the right are digging further with their demands and urging the leadership not to negotiate.
‘I think there would be a huge Democratic backlash within our caucus, certainly with the progressives, but also, in the streets,’ Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Progressive Caucus, said of President Biden potentially accepting spending cuts or work requirements for welfare programs.
‘It’s important that we don’t take steps back from the very strong agenda that the president himself shepherded.’
Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., a lead negotiator for the House GOP, said of Jayapal’s remarks: ‘I have never in my life met a person who says that the government runs efficiently and we can’t find ways to cut funding. I’ve never been, so I’m not sure what streets she’s talking about, but that’s fascinating.’
‘I think there would be a huge Democratic backlash within our caucus, certainly with the progressives, but also, in the streets,’ Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Progressive Caucus, said of President Biden potentially accepting spending cuts or work requirements for welfare programs
‘There is a significant gap between where we are and where they are on finances,’ Rep. Garret Graves told reporters on Tuesday evening
Another negotiator – Financial Services chair Patrick McHenry, right, said he had faith in Yellen’s prediction that June 1 is the X date when the nation is likely to run out of funds to pay its bills
On the right, the House Freedom Caucus has urged McCarthy not to agree to a deal that is any less conservative than the House-passed party-line debt ceiling bill, the Limit Save Grow Act.
‘The bill we passed is a good bill. I think we should actually go further,’ Rep. Chip Roy said on CBS.
‘What we will take is what we passed,’ Rep. Scott Perry, chair of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters.
Other far-right members of the GOP conference have expressed doubt that Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen’s warning the nation could default as soon as June 1 is accurate.
Another negotiator – Financial Services chair Patrick McHenry – said he had faith in Yellen’s prediction.
‘She is in charge of cash management. There’s a whole bureaucracy within the Treasury. They don’t play games,’ he said. ‘She’s a straight shooter.’
Negotiators are hung up on finding a top line spending level.
Democrats have offered to keep spending levels at 2023 levels in exchange for a two-year lift to the debt ceiling. They insist that amounts to a spending cut since the 2023 levels won’t be adjusted for inflation in 2024 — amounting to essentially a 5 percent cut.
Republicans want spending levels to be held at 2022 levels, but insist that either way it must be less than it is now.
The difference is about $130 billion.
Negotiators must also debate the length of a 1 percent spending cap going forward. Republicans had wanted to cap spending growth at 1 percent for 10 years, but the White House offered one year. Republicans have dropped their offer to six years.
‘There is a significant gap between where we are and where they are on finances,’ Graves told reporters on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tamped down fears of default back in his home state of Kentucky.
‘Look, I think everybody needs to relax,’ he said.
Of the back and forth confusion over whether any progress has even been made, he said: ‘This is not that unusual.’
But time is running out — the House is scheduled to be on recess next week, June 1 is eight days away and GOP leadership is still planning to give rank-and-file members three days to read the bill they come up with.
Republicans are still insisting work requirements for programs like SNAP, TANF and Medicaid be included in a final package. Democrats are highly resistant to taking benefits away from anyone.
Graves, however, insists that at issue is Biden’s deputies – Biden aide Steve Ricchetti and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young – do not know what budget cuts they’re authorized to agree to.
Graves equated negotiations to ‘somebody buying a used car.’ White House negotiators will say, ‘Well, I gotta go talk to my manager. Oh sorry. The manager won’t drop the price, but he’ll throw in car mats.
‘I feel like we’ve been through a few of those iterations, which is inappropriate. We need to be able to have empowered negotiators in the room and I do think it would be helpful.