WASHINGTON: Crunch talks between US President Joe Biden and senior Republicans have been postponed until early next week to allow staff to continue working, the White House said in a statement on Thursday (May 11).
A source familiar with the meetings between Democratic and Republican leaders said this was a positive development and that talks between the two sides were progressing, making Friday not the right moment for the leaders to meet.
But the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, accused Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, of holding up the deal.
“President Biden and Senator Schumer are stuck on no, they have no plan, no proposed savings and no clue,” he told reporters shortly after the White House announced the talks had been postponed.
“The staff has met the last two days, we think it’s productive for the staff to meet again,” McCarthy said, adding he expected there would be another meeting between senior Republican and Democratic leaders next week.
AVERTING THE “X-DATE”
The two sides remain sharply divided over the debt ceiling, with Republicans in Congress insisting that Biden agree to significant budget cuts in exchange for support to lift the limit before the country runs out of money to pay its existing bills.
Democrats have been calling for a “clean” increase of the borrowing limit, accusing Republicans of using extreme tactics to push their political agenda ahead of the so-called “X-date” – the point at which the US will be unable to meet its financial obligations.
The planned talks between Biden and McCarthy were the second scheduled for this week, as both sides look to avoid the X-date, which US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned could come as soon as Jun 1.