House Republicans are questioning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's quickly approaching June 1 deadline to raise the debt ceiling as negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the White House appear at an impasse.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who is running point on negotiations, questioned the White House's urgency to strike a deal within the week.
"I want to trust the Treasury's math," McHenry told The Hill, "but they're going to have to show their work. And if the White House team doesn't have a sense of urgency, if the President doesn't have a sense of urgency here, then that raises more questions — valid questions — about how they justify the date."
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., chairman of the Republican Main Street Caucus, echoed McHenry, saying a perceived lack of urgency from the White House "makes us wonder if they're dealing with a different deadline."
Johnson noted that even if the deadline is incorrect, ignoring it could be a political faux pas.
"If you give negotiators more time, they will always gobble up more time. So, let's just get the deal done," he said.
In April, the House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would reduce budget deficits by $4.8 trillion and increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., upon receiving the bill, said it was dead on arrival. McCarthy insisted Monday that a compromise would be necessary since the Senate has not acted on it.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) also expressed skepticism regarding negotiations with the White House, emphasizing that their willingness to engage in talks depends on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen confirming that June 1 is an actual deadline. Perry asserted that without concrete evidence or financial figures, there is no justification for Republicans to enter into discussions for a pared-down agreement with the White House.
"I don't know why we accept that," Perry said. "We haven't seen her work. We haven't seen any figures. We also know that the [tax revenue] quarterlies coming in at the middle of the month are going to be flushed with cash. There's absolutely no reason to do this, and we all know it."
Yellen wrote on May 1 that on June 1, the government could default.
On Monday, she wrote to McCarthy that although "it is impossible to predict with certainty the exact date when Treasury will be unable to pay all the government's bills," it is "highly likely" that obligations by the government will not be met "by early June, and potentially as early as June 1."
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