Still no sign of in-person meetings today
Liz Brown-Kaiser and Kyle Stewart
Rep. McHenry returned to the Capitol minutes ago, declining to characterize the status of debt ceiling talks to a reporter.
Asked if there are any in-person meetings scheduled for today, he responded, “Not that I’m aware of.”
The congressman then entered McCarthy’s office.
Rep. McHenry decries leaks, says ‘I want an agreement’
Rep. McHenry decried leaks about debt ceilings talks on his way into a meeting with the speaker, and told reporters he’s just focused on striking a deal.
“Everyone wants a detail of this,” he said. “I want an agreement that changes the trajectory of the country. That’s the speaker’s imperative to us.”
McHenry said the “leaks don’t serve getting an agreement that changes the trajectory of the country. That’s what this is about. That’s the fundamental piece of this arrangement that we’re focused on closing out. And if we can close it out, we can meet the deadline and the obligations we have to the American public and to the globe.”
Asked if any in-person meetings were planned for today, he said, “Not yet.”
Rep. Graves arrives at White House for LSU ceremony
Chief Republican negotiator Graves has arrived at the White House to celebrate the LSU women’s basketball team, which is being honored today for winning the national championship.
Also at the ceremony is Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget and a key negotiator on the debt ceiling for the Biden administration.
As the celebration got underway, Biden said that “Shalanda Young, putting together a deal hopefully,” left the talks to join the event.
Young and Graves are sitting on opposite sides of the room. Graves shook hands with attendees and then sat in the front row. He was spotted earlier leaving the Hill, likely leaving little time for any side conversations between officials.
Graves did not attend LSU but the school is located in his district. Young isn’t an LSU alum either, but is also from Louisiana.
‘Hell, no,’ GOP won’t back down on work requirements, Rep. Graves says
Rep. Graves told reporters “Hell, no” when asked if Republicans will back down on work requirements in the negotiations. He said that work requirements are still the biggest sticking point, but there are several outstanding issues.
On a possible deal today or this weekend, Graves said that progress has been made on some key areas of contention, but they continue to have “major issues” on which they haven’t bridged the gap.
Key GOP negotiator expected at the White House … but not for debt ceiling talks
Kelly O’Donnell and Rose Horowitch
Rep. Graves, one of the House Republicans’ top negotiators, has a seat saved for him at the White House — at a ceremony to honor his home state LSU Tigers women’s basketball team this afternoon.
Photos seen by NBC News show Graves has a seat saved for him at the 2 p.m. ceremony at the White House in which Biden and the first lady will host the Louisiana State University women’s team and celebrate its NCAA championship win.
Biden won’t use 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit, Treasury official says
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said today that Biden would not use the 14th Amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, marking the administration’s most explicit rejection of the proposal.
In an appearance on CNN this morning, he was asked whether Biden would consider using the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if the country approaches a default without a bipartisan deal.
“I think the president and the secretary have been very clear that that will not solve our problems now. So, yes, that is a no,” Adeyemo said, adding that the only path forward is for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
“We don’t have a Plan B that allows us to meet the commitments we’ve made to our creditors, to our seniors, to our veterans, to the American people,” he said. “The only plan we have is the one that’s worked for more than 200 years in this country, which is that the United States of America needs to pay all of its bills and pay them on time.”
Republicans are getting quiet — often that means a deal is close
With the high-stakes negotiations entering a do-or-die phase ahead of the holiday weekend, the typically buzzy and leaky GOP conference has gone quiet about the emerging deal’s outlines.
“I’m not concerned about anybody making any comments right now about what they think is in or not,” McCarthy said this morning when asked about reports of a two-year deal coming together behind closed doors. “Whenever we come to an agreement, we’ll make sure we will first brief our entire conference.”
Those briefings are not yet happening, with Republicans across the party’s ideological range claiming ignorance about the deal’s contours.
“No smoke signals yet,” one Freedom Caucus member told NBC News — saying they had been told “nothing” specific about the deal by Republican leadership.
Even typically chatty members close to the speaker have offered nothing but apologies today for how little they could share about a deal they expect to be asked to vote on next week.
In Washington negotiations, silence can mean many things. It often indicates a deal is close, with particularly sensitive issues moving to the forefront and the circle of knowledgeable participants shrinking.
Could that be the case here? Those in the know aren’t saying.
“Everyone wants a detail of this. Everyone wants a tweet,” Rep. Patrick McHenry, a top McCarthy negotiator, said this morning. “I want an agreement that changes the trajectory of the country.”
Democrats see two-year debt limit extension taking shape
The White House is pushing for a two-year extension of the debt ceiling and is privately optimistic it will achieve that, according to three sources familiar with the negotiations.
A two-year deal would represent an attempt to resolve the issue until after the 2024 election.
One of the sources said negotiators are “there on a 2-year debt limit extension,” adding that “we’re close” on a final deal but still working through some issues.
It’s not clear Republicans have agreed to lock that in, as various details of negotiations remain fluid. McCarthy avoided questions today about whether there’ll be a two-year extension, but said that negotiators “made progress last night” and need to “make more progress now.”
McCarthy’s House-passed bill included an extension of less than one year. GOP hard-liners want a short fuse, so they can return to demand more concessions before the next election.
Rep. Gaetz predicts any deal will pass with bipartisan support from moderates
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a GOP hard-liner who has been critical of McCarthy, predicted today that a bipartisan debt ceiling bill would pass with about 80-100 Democratic votes and about 140-160 Republican votes.
He said “the squad,” a progressive group of lawmakers, and the House Freedom Caucus would likely oppose any bipartisan deal, referring to a group of progressive Democrats and the House’s most staunch conservatives. In a Twitter Spaces event, he predicted that any deal would “rocket” through the Senate.
Gaetz added that he sees “no serious threat” to McCarthy’s speakership in the debt ceiling negotiations. Gaetz had been part of a coalition of Republicans who initially opposed McCarthy’s speakership, forcing him to grant concessions that made it easier to oust him from the role.
McCarthy says negotiators made ‘progress,’ but won’t commit to a deal today
Kyle Stewart and Rose Horowitch
McCarthy said that negotiators made “progress” working late into last night, but that his conference wanted to “change the trajectory” of government spending to reduce federal debt.
Arriving at the Capitol today, he said he met with Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., a key GOP negotiator, this morning. He said the staff “made progress last night,” but “we’ve got to make more progress now.”
When asked whether negotiators would reach a deal today, McCarthy said he would “work as hard as I can,” but any deal had to be “worthy of the American people.”
The speaker said negotiations over the debt ceiling were “coming down to one thing.”
“This has been about spending,” he said, criticizing Democrats for borrowing money from other countries and for opposing adding work requirements for people receiving government aid.
Sources: Negotiators signal talks stuck on work requirements
A person who spoke with negotiators this morning said they appeared “cautiously optimistic” about a debt deal, but that the two sides remained hung up on GOP demands for stricter work requirements and a couple of other issues.
A second source familiar with the talks confirmed that both sides remain dug in over the work requirements issue and that the White House is pushing against policies it worries would “drive Americans into poverty or take their health care away.”
Time is quickly running out to strike a deal, write legislation and pass it in the House and the Senate before the June 1 default deadline. But the first source, a Republican, said he believes Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be able to find a way to extend that June 1 deadline.
“I think she’ll come forward and say we can prioritize payments,” the person said. “It doesn’t mean the markets won’t react unfavorably; it’s risky stuff.”
Debt ceiling talks are ‘close’ but ‘not there yet,’ source says
Kelly O’Donnell and Rose Horowitch
Negotiations over whether to raise the debt ceiling are “close but not there yet,” according to a Democratic source familiar with the state of talks.
Broad parameters of a deal are “coming together,” the source said, but the White House and congressional Republicans still need to work out details of an agreement.
The source said that they’re hopeful that there will be language of an agreement over the long weekend, but that any deal is still subject to negotiation.
Debt ceiling deal forecast: Maybe today
Everyone in Washington continues to try to suss out whether today will be the day.
One Democrat familiar with negotiations offered this take: “Don’t think it will be today but could be.”
Stock futures up ahead of today’s market open
Stock futures rose slightly today as investors watched for signs of progress on debt ceiling negotiations, CNBC reported.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 51 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2%. Nasdaq-100 futures climbed 0.4%.
Washington is also watching Wall Street. A dip in the market, some D.C. insiders have speculated, may be the pressure needed to push a deal across the finish line.