Cantor 'cynical' about Dems on debt-ceiling talks

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he's "cynical" on where Democrats are in talks on a deal to raise the debt limit.

Cantor's statement echoed that of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who said he thought a deal would be reached only at the last minute.

"I hope that we can get it done before the day comes where [Treasury] Secretary [Timothy] Geithner says the alarm bell goes off, but I'm where Paul is right now — I'm a little bit cynical about where the other side is," Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday on CNBC.

Cantor added that he sees a glimmer of hope in recent comments made by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) concerning possible changes to Medicare.

On Monday, in an interview with CNBC, Pelosi said Medicare was “on the table” in negotiations to deal with the deficit. When Republicans at once published the idea that Pelosi and Democrats were willing to entertain cuts to Medicare, Pelosi explained her remarks as meaning she was willing to look at ways of making Medicare more efficient. She said she was not for cutting Medicare services and did not endorse the GOP plan for changing Medicare to a type of voucher system.

Ryan, in an interview Monday with a local radio affiliate in Chicago, said that he thought a deal to avoid a default would come late in July.

“We’re going to negotiate this thing probably up through July — that’s how these things go,” Ryan said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has set a deadline of Aug. 2 for when the country must raise the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on its debt.

A group of legislators led by Vice President Joe Biden have been negotiating on a compromise on raising the debt ceiling. Republicans have vowed not to agree on any deal that doesn't include major spending reforms. They have also said that tax increases are off the table. Democrats, meanwhile, want a deal that involves closing some tax loopholes. They argue that refusing to raise the debt limit would be irresponsible.

The Biden group is made up of Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Cantor, and Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

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