The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Where We Stand on the Debt Ceiling
Democrats and Republicans were very close to hammering out a final debt ceiling deal Friday night, but the pact fell apart when neither side could get the guarantees they wanted.
The hope was for negotiators to finish some text last night, which would let House Republicans begin to run their three-day procedural clock as soon as possible to schedule a vote.
Fox News Digital is told congressional leaders will aim to get text out this afternoon. A senior House GOP source said the new June 5 default deadline from the Treasury Department is giving both sides "more breathing space but also unintentionally slowing this process down."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has repeatedly said the House would have "72 hours" before it debates and votes on a bill, not necessarily "three days." If text comes out this afternoon, the House could conceivably vote to raise the debt limit late in the day on Tuesday. But the House may still need a little more time than that.
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House speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-Calif., have a closer relationship than McCarthy had with former House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi, D-Calif., which may help them reach a deal to raise the debt limit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin/Getty Images)
The Senate will likely need several days to process this legislation. That’s why a Senate target to pass this bill could be next weekend.
Again, all this presumes that nothing blows up.
Sources say a GOP ask for permitting reform for energy programs is out of the bill.
Democrats appear unwilling to budge on stricter work requirements for government aid like Medicaid. Fox News Digital is told such a provision could "collapse the Democratic vote" for this plan.
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U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol on May 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. McCarthy spoke on the ongoing debt limit negotiations. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Also, Republicans will likely balk if this measure doesn’t include some transformative, structural changes on spending.
The trick will be finding a wide swath of Democrats and Republicans "in the middle" (and, it could potentially be a large middle) to support this plan.
Fox is told on the GOP side it will take a muscular effort to whip the vote. Finalized bill text will help Republicans determine where their members are. Then, can Democrats make up the difference?
A successful deal is going to require an incredibly high level of trust between McCarthy and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., as to how many concrete votes both sides can deliver. Remember that both are a little new at this. It would not take much for the calculation to be off.
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US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, speaks during a press conference about the debt ceiling negotiations on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 25, 2023. Ratings agency Fitch warned the US on May 24 that its perfect credit rating could be jeopardized if the White House and Republican opposition fail to overcome their impasse on raising the nation's borrowing limit, a week before a key deadline. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
In addition, it is harder to get firm vote commitments from lawmakers when they are not on Capitol Hill in person. It helps to "look them in the eye," but several representatives have returned home for Memorial Day weekend. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., gave lawmakers permission to leave the capitol Wednesday but said they should be ready to return for a potential debt limit vote with 24 hours' notice.
One thing that could help negotiations is that while McCarthy had a non-existent relationship with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that is not the case with Jeffries. In fact, McCarthy has poured energy into developing a relationship and building trust with Jeffries. Those efforts could pay dividends now when it comes to counting the votes.
Chad Pergram currently serves as a senior congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in September 2007 and is based out of Washington, D.C.