Key GOP negotiator: Debt ceiling leaks won’t help get a deal
A key Republican lawmaker negotiating a debt limit increase denounced recent leaks of details of an emerging deal, suggesting they are not helpful in locking down an agreement.
“Everyone wants a detail of this, everyone wants a tweet, I want an agreement that changes the trajectory of the country,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) told reporters Friday morning while walking into Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office.
“But the tweets, the context, the details and all this stuff, and the leaks, don’t serve getting an agreement that changes the trajectory of the country,” he later added. “That’s what this is about. That’s the fundamental piece of this arrangement that we’re focused on closing out. And if we can close it out, we can meet the deadline and the obligations we have to the American public and to the globe.”
McHenry’s comments came hours after The New York Times and The Washington Post reported negotiators were getting closer to striking a deal that would limit spending more on domestic discretionary spending than defense. They also said negotiators were discussing partially clawing back the $80 billion boost to the IRS for enforcement in an effort to prevent deeper limitations on domestic spending.
Additionally, they said the debt limit hike would last through the 2024 presidential election.
A source familiar with the negotiation, however, told The Hill an agreement has not been reached on top-line spending or how long the debt limit would be increased.
“I don’t know if it’s the next day or two or three but it’s got to come together,” McHenry told reporters on when a deal will be struck.
“There is forward progress but each time there’s forward progress the issues that remain become more difficult and more challenging. So that is step by step, small step by small step, and at some point this thing can come together or go the other way,” he added.
Conservative Republicans have been vocal in expressing their displeasure over rumors they hear about what might be in the bill. On Friday, former Trump Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought wrote on Twitter, “As reported, the deal negotiated by Patrick McHenry isn’t much different than a clean debt limit increase. In some respects, it’s worse bc it will now prejudge the appropriations process.”
McCarthy, however, pushed back on grumblings among GOP lawmakers, underscoring that lawmakers are not yet aware of what will be in the agreement.
“You’re talking to people who don’t know what’s in the deal, so I’m not concerned about anybody making any comments right now about what they think is in or not in. Whenever we come to an agreement, we’ll make sure we will first brief our entire conference,” the Speaker said.
“What’s going through right now is, members don’t know what’s all in. You all report things that aren’t really true in the process, so people get concerned,” he later added.
McCarthy told reporters “nothing’s agreed to till it’s all agreed to, and we’re working through everything.” He and GOP negotiators have consistently declined to disclose specifics regarding negotiations and provisions being discussed as talks drag on.
The Speaker did, however, say negotiations “made progress” Thursday night as the U.S. inches closer to the default deadline. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned on multiple occasions that the country could run out of cash to pay its bills by June 1.
“We know it’s a crunch time, we know it’s not easy, but we’re gonna make sure — we’re not just trying to get an agreement. We’re trying to get something that’s worthy of the American people that changes the trajectory,” McCarthy said. “So we’re gonna work just as hard, we worked through the night last night, I thought we made progress yesterday, I want to make progress again today and I want to be able to solve this problem.”
Emily Brooks and Mike Lillis contributed. Updated at 1:03 p.m.
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