Debt ceiling: Negotiators return to talks on Capitol Hill after setback

(CNN) Debt ceiling talk Earlier discussions between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office and the White House hit an impasse, prompting the suspension, which resumed Friday night on Capitol Hill after multiple sources told CNN.

McCarthy told Fox Business Friday evening that they would be “back in the room tonight,” adding that he was “very frustrated” with the White House’s stance. A source familiar with the negotiations told CNN Friday evening that negotiators will meet soon.

Negotiators met briefly at the Capitol earlier Friday before parting ways. Hoping there could be a deal Basically on the weekend.

GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson, a McCarthy ally and chairman of the centrist Main Street Caucus, told CNN that spending cuts are the biggest sticking point in the negotiations.

“We’re pretty far off the topline number,” Johnson said earlier Friday, referring to the level of discretionary spending for fiscal year 2024. “McCarthy holds the line. He knows where the Republican convention is. The White House doesn’t. Understand that Washington has a spending problem.”

“The gap in topline numbers is not the only problem, but it is the biggest problem,” he added.

The South Dakota Republican said he thought a deal was still possible by the early June deadline, but “we’re in a bad position.” The president, he said, “has to decide whether he wants a deal or not.”

Sources familiar with White House thinking acknowledged that one reason for the temporary breakdown in negotiations was that White House negotiators found the level of House Republicans’ spending cuts unacceptable, although the White House expressed willingness to cut some spending. .

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McCarthy confirmed on Friday that the talks had been suspended, citing insufficient “mobility” from the White House and bringing up the issue of spending cuts.

“We have to get motion by the White House. We don’t have any motion yet,” McCarthy told reporters on his way to the Capitol.

Asked why he had such an optimistic tone a day earlier, McCarthy said, “I felt like we were in a place where I could see the path. The White House is — we can’t spend more money next year. We have to spend less than the year before. It’s that simple.”

McCarthy said he had not spoken to the president and did not respond to questions about next steps.

A pause does not mean a collapse of talks. High-stakes talks on Capitol Hill over the years have derailed or collapsed before negotiators got things back on track. But it underscores the challenges ahead of reaching a deal.

The deadline to raise the borrowing limit before June 1 is critical and the Treasury Department says the government cannot pay its bills. If America fails, it will trigger a global economic catastrophe.

GOP representative leading negotiations for House Republicans. Garrett Graves, leaving a brief meeting with negotiators in the morning, said the situation was “not productive.” At the time, he said he wasn’t sure they would meet again this weekend.

“Until people are willing to have reasonable conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing, we’re not going to sit here and talk to ourselves. That’s what’s happening,” Graves said.

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As talks stalled, a White House official acknowledged “real differences” and “talks will be difficult” but said the president’s negotiating team was trying to reach a “reasonable bipartisan settlement.”

This topic and story has been updated with additional improvements.

CNN’s Jessica Dean, Lauren Fox, Bill Mattingly, Jeremy Diamond and Arlette Chance contributed.

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