Democratic House members are getting restless as deliberations regarding the debt ceiling continue to come up short of finding a solution ahead of the nation’s estimated default date.
The White House has been fighting with the Republican-controlled House for months to raise the federal debt limit, with GOP lawmakers demanding to see spending cuts before agreeing to a deal. Lawmakers narrowly passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act in April offering details of what Republicans want to see before agreeing to raise President Joe Biden’s borrowing limit, although Democrats in the Senate have already promised to shoot the bill down upon its arrival.
Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy again on Thursday in an effort to strike a deal, but no bill was finalized before sending House lawmakers to recess ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. House members are not scheduled to return until June 5, although Majority Leader Steve Scalise said on the chamber’s floor on Wednesday that lawmakers will be given a 24-hour notice to return to Washington, D.C., if a deal is reached between Biden and McCarthy before that time.
According to a report from CNN, McCarthy left Capitol Hill Thursday evening and told reporters that reaching a deal with the White House wasn’t going to be easy.
“We are going to continue to work until we get this done,” he said.
Lawmakers are quickly running out of time, however, before the government hits its estimated default date on June 1, which was previously set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The impending deadline has left Democratic lawmakers frustrated with their opposing party, including New York Representative Jamaal Bowman, who told CNN congressional reporter Manu Raju that Republicans were acting as “hostage takers.”
“I’m very frustrated,” Bowman told Raju. “I called on the president to evoke the 14th Amendment and mint a coin, and do not negotiate with hostage-takers. I mean, we don’t negotiate with terrorists globally, why are we going to negotiate with the economic terrorists here that are the Republican Party?”
Congressman Ritchie Torres, a Democrat from New York, also told Raju on Thursday that his caucus’ “greatest regret” should be failing to raise the debt ceiling when Democrats were in control of both the House and the Senate, prior to the new Congressional session starting this past January.
Newsweek reached out to the White House via email for comment on negotiation talks.
Reuters reported on Thursday that a deal between Biden and McCarthy does seem to be looming near, according to people familiar with the debt ceiling discussions. The bill in question would reportedly set broad spending limits for discretionary programs, and one source told the outlet that it would also specify an amount for military spending.
Any deal struck will also be subject to a 72-hour review period between when the bill is introduced to the House floor and when it can be voted upon. The rule was waived under previous House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, McCarthy has committed to abiding by the rule.
The waiting period would mean that the Senate would have to act rapidly to pass a deal before the June 1 deadline. Although the Treasury Department said on Thursday that it plans to sell $119 billion of debt due on June 1, which could offer lawmakers a few extra days to finalize plans, Reuters reported.