Top GOP negotiator says deal could come in ‘hours or days’
Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, one of the lead negotiators for House Republicans, told reporters on Saturday morning that a deal could be struck in “hours or days.”
“You know, this is not how I anticipated the final hours, days would go. But we’re getting to a very narrow set of issues that has to be dealt with,” he said. “We’ve had a long list for a long time. What I didn’t anticipate is we’d have a very short list for a very long time.”
McHenry — who for some time has described the final issues in play as the “most thorny” — declined to put a timeline on when a deal could be reached.
McHenry said the new June 5th deadline certainly gives negotiators breathing room, but he also said it makes it very clear that the work needs to be done soon: “I think this clarifies that our timeline is very tight.”
The Republican lawmaker added that while negotiations have been tough and everyone is fatigued, that won’t stop them from finishing the job.
“I think we’re all tired. But that doesn’t mean that we’re willing to just take something that we think is not acceptable,” he said.
Debt ceiling deadline moved to June 5
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen yesterday moved the deadline to act or risk breaching the debt ceiling to June 5 after repeatedly warning that the United States could run out of cash to pay the bills.
“Based on the most recent available data, we now estimate that Treasury will have insufficient resources to satisfy the government’s obligations if Congress has not raised or suspended the debt limit by June 5,” Yellen wrote on Friday to congressional leaders.
The Treasury Department reached the statutory borrowing limit in January and has been using “extraordinary measures” to pay the country’s bills since then, she said.
The June 5 deadline is more precise than her earlier estimation that the debt ceiling could be breached “potentially as early as June 1.”