After weekend pause, McCarthy, Biden resume debt talks

Negotiators for the President and Speaker split up on Saturday, forcing an international chat ahead of a Monday meeting between Biden and McCarthy.

After negotiators for President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) walked away from the table on Saturday amid logjam, the two principals agreed to resume talks on Monday.

The big picture: The negotiators for the Democratic president and Republican speaker met as talks appear to be narrowing on a 2024 budget year cap that would be key to resolving the standoff.


  • They face a deadline, as soon as June 1, when the government could run out of cash to pay its bills. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that June 1 is a “hard deadline.”
  • President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy spoke by phone Sunday while the president was returning home on Air Force One after the Group of Seven summit in Japan.
  • McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol that the call was “productive” and that the negotiations between his staff and White House representatives are focused on spending cuts.
  • McCarthy emerged from that conversation sounding optimistic and was careful not to criticize Biden’s trip, as he had before. He did caution, however, “There’s no agreement on anything.”

Inside negotiations: Republicans want to roll back next year’s spending to 2022 levels, but the White House has proposed keeping 2024 the same as it is now, in the 2023 budget year.

  • Republicans initially sought to impose spending caps for 10 years, though the latest proposal narrowed that to about six.
  • The White House wants a two-year budget deal. A compromise on those topline spending levels would enable McCarthy to deliver for conservatives, while not being so severe that it would chase off the Democratic votes that would be needed in the divided Congress to pass any bill.

What they’re saying: McCarthy expressed some optimism about a path forward after his call with a returning Biden.

  • “What I’m looking at are where our differences are and how could we solve those, and I felt that part was productive,” McCarthy said.
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