U.S. government reaches tentative debt ceiling deal
U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican, Kevin McCarthy have reached a tentative deal to suspend the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, ending a months-long stalemate.
However, the deal was announced without any celebration, in terms that reflected the bitter tenor of the negotiations and the difficult path it has to pass through Congress before the United States runs out of money to pay its debts in early June.
“I just got off the phone with the president a bit ago. After he wasted time and refused to negotiate for months, we’ve come to an agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people,” McCarthy tweeted.
Biden called the deal “an important step forward” in a statement, saying: “The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want. That’s the responsibility of governing.”
The deal would suspend the debt limit through January of 2025, while capping spending in the 2024 and 2025 budgets, claw back unused COVID funds, speed up the permitting process for some energy projects and includes some extra work requirements for food aid programs for poor Americans.
After months of back-and-forth, the tentative agreement came together in a flurry of calls.
Biden and McCarthy held a 90-minute phone call earlier on Saturday evening to discuss the deal, McCarthy briefed his members later in the evening, and the White House and the House leader spoke afterward.
“We still have more work to do tonight to finish the writing of it,” McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill.
McCarthy said he expects to finish writing the bill on Sunday, then speak to Biden and have a vote on the deal on Wednesday.