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Kevin McCarthy tells Republicans both sides still divided in debt limit talks

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks to the press outside the Oval Office at the White House on Monday after meeting with President Joe Biden on budget and debt ceiling negotiations. McCarthy told Republicans on Tuesday he and the president are "nowhere near" a debt limit deal. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 7 | House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks to the press outside the Oval Office at the White House on Monday after meeting with President Joe Biden on budget and debt ceiling negotiations. McCarthy told Republicans on Tuesday he and the president are "nowhere near" a debt limit deal. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 23 (UPI) -- As the deadline for default moves closer, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told Republicans on Tuesday he is "nowhere near" a debt limit deal with President Joe Biden.

Just a day after their latest negotiation, which both Biden and McCarthy called "productive," McCarthy told Republicans during a closed-door meeting that they are not close to a bipartisan deal to avoid what would be the first default on the nation's debt.

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"We are nowhere near a deal," McCarthy told Republicans. "I need you all to hang with me."

Meantime, Republicans in the House are expressing skepticism over the June 1 default deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, which they say is increasing the pressure to get a deal done.

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., has suggested subpoenaing Yellen to see her reasoning behind the date, while Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called on Treasury Secretary to "show her work," according to The Hill.

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House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who is one of the lead negotiators in the debt limit talks, said Tuesday he also believes the White House may be working with a different deadline.

"I want to trust the Treasury's math, but they're going to have to show their work," McHenry told The Hill.

"And if the White House team doesn't have a sense of urgency, if the President doesn't have a sense of urgency here, then that raises more questions -- valid questions -- about how they justify the date."

McCarthy said Tuesday he still believes a deal is possible before Yellen's deadline.

"They decide when that date is," McCarthy told reporters Monday. "The president may have more information on that, but she has been very clear."

Despite questions about the default deadline, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday, "I think everybody needs to relax."

"The last 10 times we raised the debt ceiling, there were things attached to it. This is not that unusual. It is almost entirely required when you have a divided government," McConnell said.

The White House and Democrats are pushing for a clean debt ceiling increase, while Republicans want to attach spending cuts to the deal.

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Next week, a judge in Boston will hold a hearing on a key argument that Biden has the legal authority to ignore the debt limit statute and keep paying the nation's bills.

A lawsuit filed by a federal workers union claims the 14th Amendment gives Biden and other officials the power to sidestep Congress.

The White House on Tuesday ruled out the possible workaround.

"It is not going to deal with the problem that we're currently having at this moment, at this time. What we need to focus on is Congress acting," press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

On Sunday, Biden brought up the 14th Amendment as he spoke to the press in Hiroshima, Japan.

"I'm looking at the 14th Amendment as to whether or not we have the authority -- I think we have the authority," Biden told reporters at the G-7 summit.

McCarthy told reporters Tuesday he now believes the president is trying to "disrupt" their debt ceiling negotiations by bringing Medicare and Social Security back to the table.

"The president said 'You can't do anything with Medicare and Social Security,' and now he wants to bring that into the fold," McCarthy said.

"Now he wants to bring that in? That seems like a place to try and disrupt the whole negotiations," McCarthy added. "Like trying to throw taxes in, now trying to start talking about Medicare? No. We gotta get it done."

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