(Washington) Democrats and Republicans seem close to an agreement on Saturday to avoid a default by the United States before the new deadline of June 5, but the negotiations are still stumbling on final points.
On Friday evening, US President Joe Biden sounded “optimistic” about the prospects for a deal with the Republican opposition, noting that negotiators on both sides are “very close” to concluding.
The discussions continued late into the night and resumed on Saturday morning, the negotiators pointing to “progress”, but also to final stumbling blocks linked in particular to the demands of the Republicans conditioning the granting of certain social benefits.
“Our economy must be one that helps fill our kitchen cupboards, not the pockets of the ultra-rich,” Joe Biden tweeted.
Asked Saturday morning if there would be a deal before the deadline, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “Yes.”
“I really think we can do this,” he told reporters, warning that there were still things “to be worked out.”
“We’re not there yet,” he added.
The United States, which entered the Memorial Day long weekend on Monday, remains on hold on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, much needed to avert the catastrophic default. for the global economy.
The date on which the US Treasury will find itself unable to honor its financial commitments is now set for June 5, compared to June 1 previously, offering a few days of respite to the country.
This concerns the salaries of civil servants, pensions or reimbursements of creditors.
Among the points of disagreement between the two camps is the requirement of the Republicans to limit the obtaining of certain social benefits, such as food aid, to a number of hours worked.
“I don’t think it’s right to borrow money from China to pay people who are healthy and don’t have dependents to hang out on their couch,” McCarthy lashed out, posing as an uncompromising defender of fiscal discipline, in a video shared on Saturday.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates blasted Republicans for wanting to hold the economy hostage and jeopardize “more than eight million jobs” while trying to “take the bread out of your mouth.” hungry Americans.
Joe Biden, campaigning for his re-election, positions himself as a champion of social and fiscal justice and has repeatedly said he is opposed to massive budget cuts which would impact the most precarious workers and households.
One of the Republican negotiators Patrick McHenry referred to a “short list of disagreements” remaining between the two camps. “It’s a matter of hours or days,” he said Saturday.
The pressure surrounding the negotiations is all the stronger as the compromise, once obtained, will have to be validated by the Democratic-majority Senate and the Republican-dominated House of Representatives.
However, the parliamentary calendar is tight, with many elected officials returning to their strongholds for a few days on the occasion of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. They were instructed to be ready to return to Washington within 24 hours if an agreement was reached.
And Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy promised he would give everyone 72 hours to review the compromise before considering any votes.
A vote which remains uncertain, progressive elected officials within the Democratic Party, as well as Republican elected officials, having threatened not to ratify or to delay as much as possible a text which would make too many concessions to the opposing camp.
On Friday, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said a deal was “critical” for the global economy, while stressing that the United States needed to do “more to reduce public debt.”