Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conducts a news conference with house and senate Republicans on the “debt crisis,” on the west plaza of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Thursday that he is optimistic that congressional negotiators could reach a deal to raise or suspend the debt ceiling in time to hold a House vote on it next week.
“I see the path that we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol. “And I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard, and I mean, we’re working two or three times a day, then going back getting more numbers.”
McCarthy spoke while a small group of White House negotiators met on Capitol Hill with McCarthy’s team to hammer out a deal that needs to pass the Republican majority House and the Democratic controlled Senate, ahead of a potential June 1 deadline, the soonest date the Treasury could run out of cash to pay debts already incurred.
“I just believe where we were a week ago and where we are today is a much better place, because we’ve got the right people in the room discussing it in a very professional manner, with all the knowledge, all the background from all the different leaders,” McCarthy added.
This week, the White House dispatched two new negotiators to take the lead in the delicate talks, presidential counselor Steve Ricchetti and Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young.
Leading the talks on the Republican side is Louisiana Rep. Garrett Graves, who worked as a committee staffer in the House and Senate before being elected to office in his own right. Young, the OMB director, also worked as a House staffer for many years, and like Graves, she brings to the talks a first-hand knowledge of how to move legislation through the House.
Despite the bitterly partisan divide in Congress over the debt limit, McCarthy nonetheless heaped praise on the White House team Thursday.
“I have the greatest respect for Shalanda and for Ricchetti. They are exceptionally, smart, tough, they are strong in their beliefs on the Democratic side, just as who we have in the room. They’re working through it in a very professional manner, seeing where we can be able to raise the debt ceiling, taking concerns of what the House has, and others, and put a bill together that will become law,” said the California Republican.
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Correction: McCarthy spoke about the debt ceiling deal Thursday. An earlier version of the article misstated when he spoke.