Debt ceiling talks grind ahead as both sides are “far apart”

Debt ceiling negotiations are continuing Tuesday, but the White House and House Republicans are “far apart,” Republican Rep. Garret Graves, who is one of the House GOP negotiators, told reporters.

The negotiating teams representing the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are huddling again Tuesday, after President Joe Biden and McCarthy met at the White House Monday evening. White House negotiators Steve Richetti, Shalanda Young and Louisa Terrell entered House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite Tuesday morning to resume negotiations.

Both McCarthy and the president described their meeting as “productive,” even as members representing McCarthy continue to lambaste the administration’s approach. Graves says he doesn’t think talks are going well.

“We’re still far apart,” Graves told reporters Tuesday morning. “Until this administration is willing to recognize that they are having record spending, record deficits and record taxes, then we’re not going to be able to come together.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Ted Lieu, meanwhile, criticized Republicans for demanding “draconian” spending cuts, saying they would result in a 30% cut across the board to other domestic programs. Lieu said Democrats do not threaten a default when they control the chamber and there is a Republican president in the White House. “This isn’t a negotiation, this is a hostage taking,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated Monday that the U.S. could be unable to pay its bills and default on its debt as early as June 1. It will still take time to pass any legislation through both chambers of Congress, if or when negotiators strike a deal.

After his meeting with the president Monday night, McCarthy said he intends to speak with the president every day until a deal is done.

“There’s nothing agreed to — everything’s being talked about,” McCarthy said when asked if work requirements for assistance programs like food stamps were still on the table.

The president didn’t delve into specifics in his statement after his meeting with McCarthy concluded.

“We reiterated once again that default is off the table, and the only way to move forward is in good faith toward a bipartisan agreement,” Mr. Biden said. “While there are areas of disagreement, the speaker and I, and his lead negotiators Chairman McHenry and Congressman Graves, and our staffs will continue to discuss the path forward.”

Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

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