US debt ceiling: Speaker McCarthy says talks productive but no deal yet

May 22, 2023  –Top Republican Kevin McCarthy has called his latest talks with US President Joe Biden on the debt ceiling productive but no deal has yet been reached.

“I believe we can get a deal done.” the House Speaker told reporters. The tone appeared to be more optimistic after weeks of divisive partisan discourse. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has reiterated that the US will likely default on its debt by 1 June.

The debt ceiling is a spending limit set by Congress which determines how much money the government can borrow.

Failure to raise it beyond the current cap of roughly $31.4tn (£25.2tn) by June could result in the US defaulting on its debt.

That would mean the government could not borrow any more money or pay all of its bills. It would also threaten to wreak havoc on the global economy, affecting prices and mortgage rates in other countries.

“We don’t have an agreement yet,” Mr McCarthy said. “But I did feel the discussion was productive in areas that we have differences of opinion.”

“Biden and I will talk everyday until we get this done,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said the source of the stalemate between Democrats and Republicans is the same as it has always been, spending.

But while recognising the differences he said the tone “was better than at any other time”.

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