HomePoliticsFrantic Negotiations, Late Nights and No Deal on America’s Debt - UnlistedNews

Frantic Negotiations, Late Nights and No Deal on America’s Debt – UnlistedNews

On Capitol Hill, the delicate talks to avoid defaulting on government debts this week took place via midnight video calls, marathon meetings in an opulent conference room and at least one early morning bike ride. tomorrow.

At the White House, the nightly tour groups were diverted from the West Wing because President Biden was in the Oval Office with his chief of staff and other advisers, who needed his quick feedback.

But all the talk so far has failed to produce an agreement to increase the country’s debt limit, raising fears of a potentially catastrophic default that could upend financial markets, raise interest rates and end in a credit downgrade of the nation.

Negotiators got a breather Friday afternoon when Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said the United States could run out of money to pay its bills on time by June 5, a slight extension of the previous deadline of June 1. of June.

But a week of hectic and “productive” meetings has given those trapped in the bargaining room the distinct feeling that days and nights run together.

“Here we are, night after night after night,” said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s top lieutenants.

“Everyone wants a detail on this,” McHenry said, as a throng of reporters demanded to know whether or not the country was going to fall into economic calamity. “Everyone wants a tweet. I want an agreement that changes the trajectory of the country”.

As he spoke, the normally gregarious congressman telegraphed his fatigue in the smallest of ways: The bow tie he wears every day was gone.

Mr. McCarthy, who was out for a bike ride Friday morning with one of his key negotiators, Louisiana Representative Garrett Graves, chimed in with the obvious: “We need to make more progress now.”

Although Biden and McCarthy have known each other for years and speak (mostly) respectfully of each other in public, until now their relationship has not been about finding courtesy but about obtaining concessions.

“You’ve got two Irish guys who don’t drink,” McHenry quipped earlier in the week. “That’s a different setup than Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan,” a reference to President Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., a Democrat, and the Republican President, who also shared Irish heritage and were known for sharing a beer .

Biden’s aides have been working around the clock since the talks abruptly collapsed a week ago, leading to a Republican-imposed “pause” in the talks that stunned members of the president’s negotiating team. From Japan, Biden demanded frequent updates and ended a scheduled dinner early to receive briefings on the talks. On the last day of his trip, Biden’s aides in Washington got up at 4:30 a.m. to give him a video update.

Since then, negotiators from both sides have met several times in a conference room on the House side of the Capitol, under a fresco by artist Constantino Brumidi depicting “a retired Roman general called to defend his city, a classic event that is often seen”. as a parallel to the life of George Washington. according to the website of the Architect of the Capitol.

The descriptions of the meetings themselves have not been as colorful. Mr. McHenry expressed his dismay this week at all the people who pretended to know what was going on.

“Everyone wants to take a guess or they want to have some egotistical read on what we’re talking about, but there are only a few of us in the room,” he said.

Biden’s negotiating team has been led by Shalanda D. Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, who has been Biden’s liaison on Capitol Hill since his days as vice president. president. Ricchetti has been shuttled up and down Pennsylvania Avenue all week, moving between meetings at the White House and meetings with Republicans, according to a person familiar with his schedule.

Throughout the negotiations, Ricchetti has been the only member of the team authorized to make strategic decisions on Biden’s behalf, according to two people familiar with the talks. (He is also one of the few people empowered to answer the president’s phone for Biden when they are together.)

The group also includes Louisa Terrell, director of legislative affairs. Both she and Ms. Young have deep relationships on Capitol Hill; Ms. Young was a longtime staffer on the House Appropriations Committee and has earned the respect of both Republicans and Democrats, according to several former administration officials. Ms. Terrell’s experience on Capitol Hill dates back to Mr. Biden’s office in the Senate.

His experience will be key to continue convincing members in any deal that may arise, according to several people involved. When the Capitol Hill negotiators traveled to the White House midweek, they met in a conference room near Ms. Young’s offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

At the White House, Biden receives daily updates from Jeffrey D. Zients, his chief of staff. Mr. Zients has not been as involved in the negotiations, people familiar say, but he is leading internal strategic meetings and is in regular contact with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the majority leader. top Democrat in the House. (Mr. Schumer said in a statement that the president’s negotiators are “available when we have questions.”)

Mr. Biden is also working closely with Bruce Reed, a senior policy adviser who was Biden’s chief of staff during the debt ceiling talks in 2011 and 2013, and Lael Brainard, his top economic adviser.

Mr. Biden, who does not believe in negotiating in public, as he has said several times since becoming president, he has kept quiet, except to say Thursday that he and McCarthy have “a very different view of who should shoulder the burden of further efforts to put our fiscal house in order.”

As such, on Capitol Hill, the negotiators have acquired something of a celebrity status among reporters, with scrums of dozens of journalists following them and hanging on their every word for some insight into the talks.

Non-reporters were less entranced: As a mob of journalists chased Graves out of the Capitol on Friday afternoon, pressing against each other to stay within earshot, one bystander said, “I don’t even know who it is.”

Mr. McCarthy has begun speaking to the media multiple times a day, often repeating the same talking points but never missing an opportunity to make his point to the public. (At least twice he walked into the middle of a reporter’s live television appearance, he broke into a broad smile and began talking to the people watching at home.)

Mr. Graves, a media-shy Louisiana Republican, tried to meet with members of the Louisiana State University women’s national basketball championship team Thursday as reporters followed him for any scrap of information: “ Didn’t you see the speaker? he told a group of reporters at one point, trying to redirect them away from him.

Despite all the interest, the House ended its votes for the week on Thursday morning, with most lawmakers happy to leave Washington. Some Democrats stayed behind to shame their fellow Republicans for leaving town when an economic calamity loomed.

“America may be left without the ability to pay our bills and the extreme MAGA Republicans have chosen to get out of town before sundown,” Mr. Jeffries said from the House floor.

Soon, most of the Democrats left as well. The country could default on its debt in just over a week. But first, there was Memorial Day weekend.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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