Biden, US House speaker signal progress on debt limit deal

US President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy signaled Thursday progress towards a hitherto elusive deal to raise the national debt and prevent an economic meltdown. Biden told reporters during a White House event that he and McCarthy have "had several productive conversations, and our staffs continued to meet, as we speak as a matter of fact, and they're making progress." "I've made clear time and again that defaulting on our national debt is not an option. The American people deserve to know that their social security payments will be there, veterans' hospitals remain open, and that economic progress will be made, and we're going to continue to make it," he said. "Default puts all that at risk. Congressional leaders understand that and they've all agreed there will be no default. And it's time for Congress to act. Now," he added. McCarthy also sounded upbeat on the prospects for striking an accord, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that negotiators from his team and Biden's worked past midnight Wednesday to finalize a deal, and continued talks Thursday morning. He acknowledged that neither side is going to receive all of the demands they entered the talks with. "I don't think everybody is going to be happy at the end of the day," he reportedly said. Lawmakers are departing Washington for the long Memorial Day weekend, however, making the timing for votes in the House of Representatives and Senate far from clear. Republicans in control of the House of Representatives have demanded that any action to raise the debt ceiling, or the amount of money the US is legally allowed to borrow, be paired with budget cuts. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on one Republican lawmaker's forecast for a deal to be reached Friday afternoon, but she echoed McCarthy in saying neither side will walk away from the talks with everything they wanted. "Neither side is going to get everything that they want. And so that's what we're working towards. That's what you've been seeing from the negotiation team," she said. The Treasury Department has warned that the US could run out of funds as early as June 1.

Source: Anadolu Agency