Little sign of debt progress as McCarthy digs in on spending

  • Speaker McCarthy wants spending cuts before OK'ing a debt limit increase
  • Democrats say they’re committed to funding social programs
  • The U.S. may default on its debt by early June if the debt limit is not raised

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Wednesday there is an off-ramp for the ongoing debt limit stalemate: “Spend less than we spent last year.”

McCarthy’s comments came as Republicans and Democrats continue to make little progress on avoiding a default on the nation’s debt.

The current — and primary — sticking point between both sides: work requirements for government aid. The GOP wants the requirements for those receiving food stamps, cash assistance and those on Medicaid. The Biden administration and Democrats say work requirements would impact millions of people who depend on the help.

The speaker said “It’s not my fault” that Washington was careening toward a crisis, pushing blame onto the White House for Biden’s refusal to negotiate earlier as Republicans acted to slash spending.

Debt ceiling negotiations are locked on a classic problem that has vexed, divided and disrupted Washington before: Republicans, led by McCarthy, want to roll back federal government spending, while Biden and other Democrats do not.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday that “it seems almost certain” that the United States would not make it past early June without defaulting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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