Negotiations over America’s looming debt crisis pushed into Saturday amid signs that a deal between Joe Biden’s administration and Republicans was close to being struck even as the deadline for a potentially catastrophic US default was nudged by a few days.
The Associated Press reported that work requirements for federal food aid recipients have emerged as a final sticking point in talks, even as Biden had said on Friday that a deal on raising the debt ceiling was “very close”.
Biden’s optimism came after the deadline when the US government would run short of funds to pay all its bills was pushed back to 5 June, giving both sides more breathing room but also raising the prospects that talks – which had seemed almost at a deal on Friday evening – could now stretch into next week.
On Saturday, Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that he was making “progress” in negotiations with Biden, saying: “We do not have a deal … We are not there yet. We did make progress, we worked well into early this morning and we’re back at it now,” according to Reuters.
When asked if Congress is able to meet the 5 June deadline, McCarthy swiftly responded: “Yes,” the Hill reports.
Asked if a deal could be announced on Saturday, he replied: “I don’t know about today”.
Biden and McCarthy have seemed to be narrowing on a two-year budget-slashing deal that would also extend the US debt limit into 2025 past the next presidential election.
Both sides have suggested one of the main holdups is a Republican effort to boost work requirements for recipients of food stamps and other federal aid programs, a longtime Republican goal that many Democrats have strenuously opposed.
The White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Republican proposals on theRead more on theguardian.com