WASHINGTON — High-stakes negotiations to raise the debt limit came to an abrupt halt Friday on Capitol Hill after Republican negotiators walked out of the room and accused the White House of stalling discussions.
“Until people are willing to have sensible conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing, we’re not sitting here talking to ourselves,” said Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., to reporters.
“We decided to hit pause because it’s just not productive,” he added. Graves said he did not know if negotiations would resume this weekend.
Financial markets plunged on the news, which came after a positive week of talks that appeared to signal a deal was close. The break in negotiations came just a day after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he was optimistic congressional negotiators could reach a deal in time for a House vote next week.
“I see the way that we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy said Thursday
The House and Senate both kept their original plans to leave for the weekend on Thursday. The Senate is not scheduled to adjourn until the last few days of May.
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., advised members to be ready to return to the Capitol with 24 hours’ notice.
Investors have been watching Washington closely this week for signs of progress in the months-long debt ceiling standoff. Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen set June 1 as the earliest date the United States could run out of money to pay the debt the government has already incurred.
The date was earlier than either the White House or Wall Street had expected, injecting new urgency into negotiations that had effectively been stalled since February.
After a White House meeting Tuesday with congressional leaders, President Joe Biden tapped two of his closest aides to take over the negotiations, which had made little progress to that point.
McCarthy praised Biden’s choice of Counsel to the President Steve Ricchetti and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, calling the pair “unusually smart.”
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.