House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a letter Sunday that President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy will talk this afternoon to finalize a debt ceiling deal, and then a legislative bill will be released by Republicans.
Negotiators on Saturday night reached an agreement in principle to extend the debt ceiling and prevent a catastrophic default. The legislative text of the bill was drafted by Republicans and will be reviewed by the Biden administration before it is finalized, Jeffries, DNY, wrote in a letter to Democrats.
Biden and McCarthy, R-Calif., are expected to speak after 2 p.m., and “soon the text of the legislative bill will be released by House Republicans and available to the House, Senate and the American people,” Jeffries wrote. He added that top members of the Biden administration are also scheduled to brief the House Democratic Caucus on the deal at 5 p.m.
“It is my expectation that over the next few days, ahead of any midweek vote planned by House Republicans, there will be several opportunities to review and discuss the legislation with the Biden administration,” Jeffries wrote.
During a press conference Sunday morning, McCarthy said he and Biden would discuss the bill’s language during their call later that afternoon to “make sure both sides agree.”
He also said the bill’s legislative text will be about 150 pages or less, that 95% of GOP lawmakers are “very excited” about the deal, and that he thinks it will have the support of most congressional leaders.
“It’s going to be a transition where Congress is going to vote to spend less money this year than they spent last year,” McCarthy said.
The tentative deal, expected to boost the nation’s borrowing power in exchange for spending cuts, was struck after weeks of negotiations led by Biden and McCarthy. Once the legislative language is finalized, it must pass both the GOP-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
A source familiar with the deal told NBC News it includes a two-year appropriations deal and a two-year extension of the debt ceiling, effectively resolving the issue after the 2024 election. These include work requirements to qualify for federal assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, for Americans up to age 54, excluding the homeless and veterans. But “there will be no change to medical aid,” the source said.
Asked if he had spoken with Senate leaders, McCarthy said at his press conference Sunday that he did not speak with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., but he did speak with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Hold him” deal on Saturday night.
McCarthy said he plans to talk to Senate Republicans about the deal in a conference call later Sunday.
The House Republican Conference on Saturday night began distributing a fact sheet on the deal to its members and their offices, calling the deal the “Fiscal Responsibility Act.”
“Republicans will restore fiscal sanity and hold Washington accountable,” the memo says.
Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen extended the deadline to June 5 to act or risk breaching the debt ceiling. He had previously been less specific, saying “the US will run out of money before June 1”.
The department reached its statutory debt ceiling in January and is using “extraordinary measures” to pay the country’s bills.