US President Joe Biden and House Of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday both said they had a productive debt ceiling discussion at the White House, but there was no agreement as negotiators strained to raise the nation’s borrowing limit in time to avert a potentially chaotic federal default.
It is a crucial moment for the Democratic president and the Republican speaker, just 10 days before a looming deadline to raise the debt limit.
As soon as Thursday next week, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said in a letter to US Congress, “it is highly likely” the government would be unable to pay all the nation’s bills.
Such an unprecedented default would be financially damaging for many Americans and others around the world relying on US stability, sending shock waves through the global economy.
Each side praised the other’s seriousness, but basic differences remained. They are at odds over how to trim annual budget deficits.
Republicans are determined to cut spending, while Biden’s team offered to hold spending levels flat. Biden wants to increase some taxes on the wealthiest Americans and some big companies, but McCarthy said early on that is out of the question.
“The time of spending, just spending more money in America and government is wrong,” McCarthy said after the Oval Office meeting.
In a brief post-meeting statement, Biden called the session productive, but merely added that he, McCarthy and their lead negotiators “will continue to discuss the path forward.”
Upbeat, McCarthy said their teams would work “through the night.”
Biden said all agreed that “default is not really on the table.”
Although there is no agreement on basic issues, the contours of a deal seem within reach. A budget deal would unlock a separate vote to lift the debt ceiling, now US$31 trillion, to allow more borrowing.
Negotiations are focused on finding a compromise over a budget year cap next year that would be key to resolving the standoff. Republicans insisted next year’s spending be less than it is now, but the White House instead offered to hold spending flat at this year’s numbers.
Republicans initially sought to roll back next year’s spending to last year’s levels and impose a 1 percent cap on spending growth for 10 years, though a later proposal narrowed that to about six years.
The White House wants a two-year budget deal, keeping next year’s spending flat. It proposed a 1 percent cap on spending growth for 2025, according to a person familiar with the talks and granted anonymity to discuss them.
A compromise on those top-line spending levels would enable McCarthy to deliver for conservatives, while not being so severe that it would chase off the Democratic votes that would be needed in the divided US Congress to pass any bill.
“We’re going to find a baseline that we agree to that will be less than what we spent this year,” McCarthy said at the Capitol.
Time is getting short.
The House speaker promised lawmakers he would abide by the rule to post any bill for 72 hours before voting, making any action doubtful until the end of the week — just days before the potential deadline. The US Senate would also have to pass the package before it could go to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The Central Weather Bureau could issue a sea alert for Super Typhoon Mawar, as it is forecast to turn north and come closest to Taiwan from Tuesday to Wednesday next week. Mawar was downgraded from a super typhoon to a typhoon after sweeping across Guam on Wednesday night, knocking down trees and leaving much of the US territory without power. Many residents of Guam yesterday remained without power and utilities after Mawar tore through the remote US Pacific territory the previous night, ripping roofs off homes, flipping vehicles and shredding trees. There were no immediate reports of deaths and injuries, but the
ADJUSTMENTS: Over the next five years, every year except 2026 would have only one makeup workday to compensate for national holidays, the government said The Executive Yuan (EY) yesterday announced the official workday calendar for next year, which includes one makeup day and four holidays with more than three days off. It also announced new standards for makeup days in the event of consecutive holidays. The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration cited the importance of the Lunar New Year and Tomb Sweeping holidays to the public as its reason to mandate flexible off-days. The 115 total off-days dovetail with dates that international financial markets are closed, minimizing the effects of state holidays on stock and currency exchange trading, it said. Over the next five years, only the calendar for
EMBRACE CHANGE: Jensen Huang told NTU graduates that instead of worrying about AI itself, they should worry that people with expertise in AI would be taking their jobs Artificial intelligence (AI) is redefining the computer industry, and Taiwanese companies could play a major role in replacing the world’s traditional computers as they are the foundation of the industry, Nvidia Corp cofounder and CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said in Taipei yesterday. Huang made the remarks while giving the keynote speech at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) commencement ceremony. AI has created immense opportunities, and versatile companies can be expected to take advantage and boost their position, while less flexible firms would perish, he said. “In every way, this is a rebirth of the computer industry and a golden opportunity for the companies of
‘ARCHAIC’: An interpretation of a law that considered Chinese as Taiwanese nationals was scrapped after the death of a Chinese in Kaohsiung led to state reparations An administrative mandate to consider Chinese as Taiwanese citizens was outdated, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, a day after the Executive Yuan ordered that agencies disregard the 30-year-old interpretation. Chen made the remarks at an event held by the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei following changes to the administrative mandate concerning the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例). The previous interpretation of the law was archaic and contrary to the workings of laws and regulations, he said, adding that the order was made to avoid unnecessary problems created by the mandate. The Mainland