“We have to spend less than we spent last year. It’s not my fault Democrats can’t waive their spending,” McCarthy said, in his second set of remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill in three hours.
While Democrats agreed to freeze spending in the next fiscal year, Republicans insisted on cutting federal funding to pre-pandemic levels, about $131 billion in cuts. To complicate matters further, Democrats are complaining that Republicans have actually asked for an increase in one part of the federal budget: the Pentagon.
This is not the only major point of disagreement. GOP and Democratic negotiators are also at odds over Republican proposals on tougher work requirements for social programs — another issue that has threatened to derail talks for days. McCarthy accused Biden and the Democrats of leaning to their far left rather than negotiating.
“It’s not my fault that Democrats were so extreme today, so far from the socialist wing, that they’re so opposed” to GOP proposals on work demands and spending cuts, a said the speaker. The White House, however, has insisted that GOP negotiators have been adamant on job demands, a failure for many Democrats. And Biden officials say Republicans even escalated their demands over the weekend, demanding further cuts to food aid programs that weren’t in the original GOP debt limit and bill. spending cuts.
Democrats also say McCarthy and his team have refused to consider revenue increases to offset the US deficit, including closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.
But McCarthy told reporters Wednesday that he told Biden he wouldn’t raise taxes: “It’s not a revenue issue, it’s a spending issue.”
McCarthy has yet to say whether House lawmakers will be required to stay in town over the Memorial Day recess, with the potential default deadline — June 1 — just around the corner. More likely, House lawmakers will be told to be on standby, ready to come to Washington to vote as soon as there is a deal.
McCarthy told the members to plan to be in DC next week, though the exact timing remains unclear, according to two people familiar with his comments who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I strongly believe we can get there,” McCarthy said, though he offered no timing.
Jordain Carney and Olivia Beavers contributed.