Top House negotiator on debt limit says it’s time to ‘press pause’ as talks come to standstill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top debt ceiling negotiator for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Friday it’s time to “press pause” on talks as negotiations with the White House came to an abrupt standstill at the Capitol.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., tapped by McCarthy, R-Calif., to lead the talks, emerged from an hourlong session and said gaps remained between House Republicans and the Democratic administration.

“It’s time to press pause because it’s just not productive,” Graves told reporters.

Graves said the negotiations are “just unreasonable” and that it was unclear when talks would resume.

President Joe Biden’s administration is racing to strike a deal with Republicans led by McCarthy as the nation careens toward a potentially catastrophic debt default if the government fails to increase the borrowing limit to keep paying the nation’s bills.

Negotiators met for a third day behind closed doors at the Capitol with hopes of settling on an agreement this weekend before possible House votes next week. They face a looming deadline as soon as June 1 when the Treasury Department has said it will run out of cash to pay the government’s incurred debt.

Republicans want to extract steep spending cuts that Biden has so far refused to accept. Any deal would need support of both Republicans and Democrats to find approval in the divided Congress and be passed into law.


Associated Press writer Stephen Groves contributed to this report.

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