With days to spare before a potential first-ever government default, US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached final agreement Sunday on a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and worked to ensure enough support in Congress to pass the measure in the coming week, AP reported.
The Democratic president and Republican speaker spoke late in the day as negotiators rushed to draft and post the bill text for review, with compromises that neither the hard-right or left flank is likely to support. Instead, the leaders are working to gather backing from the political middle as Congress hurries toward votes before a June 5 deadline to avert a damaging federal default.
“Good news,” Biden declared Sunday evening at the White House.
“The agreement prevents the worst possible crisis, a default, for the first time in our nation’s history,” he said. “Takes the threat of a catastrophic default off the table.”
The US president urged both parties in Congress to come together for swift passage. “The speaker and I made clear from the start that the only way forward was a bipartisan agreement,” he said.
Central to the compromise is a two-year budget deal that would essentially hold spending flat for 2024, while boosting it for defense and veterans, and capping increases at 1% for 2025. That’s alongside raising the debt limit for two years, pushing the volatile political issue past the next presidential election.
The deal came together after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress that the United States could default on its debt obligations by June 5—four days later than previously estimated—unless lawmakers take timely action to raise the federal debt ceiling.