WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – In Washington, lawmakers are racing toward an agreement to raise the debt ceiling as the country is approaching a potential default – which could have major negative impacts on the economy.
The United States is only a few days away from the June 1 deadline when the country could potentially run out of money to pay for debts. Additionally, it’s possible the government could be unable to pay for things like military paychecks and Social Security checks.
While negotiators say talks over the debt ceiling are progressing, publicly, neither side seems to be backing down.
“We got to make more progress,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said.
Republican Florida Senator Rick Scott added, “we cannot be raising people’s taxes. We cannot be increasing the size of government. We should be living within our means.”
Republicans continue to demand budget cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
“I do not think it’s right that you borrow money from China to pay people to stay home that are able bodied with no dependents on the couch,” McCarthy said.
Leaders on Capitol Hill say Democrats won’t accept devastating cuts.
Bharat Ramamurti, with the National Economic Council, explained, “whatever the deal is, it’s not going to approach the level of severe cuts that Republicans proposed.”
“I’m afraid that Speaker McCarthy now is playing political poker with somebody else’s money,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “People are watching as their 401K’s are going downhill.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said the cuts could be devastating to children, Medicaid and nutrition programs, adding, “Republicans are driving us down a dangerous road of default.”
The deadline comes as most lawmakers already left Washington for Memorial Day weekend. However, those involved with negotiations say both sides are determined to beat the June deadline.
“It does take a deadline sometimes to drive that compromise,” Ramamurti said.
Lawmakers could be called back to Capitol Hill if a deal is reached. But some of the most conservative Republicans still say they won’t support a compromise that doesn’t meet the level of cuts they want.