Congress

Congress going home for Memorial Day weekend amid debt limit crisis

House leadership told lawmakers that they should be ready to return within 24 hours if a deal on the debt limit is reached.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Members of Congress will not have to remain in Washington, D.C., over the holiday weekend even though the country is inching closer to default. 

House leadership told lawmakers that they can leave, but they should be ready to return within 24 hours to vote if a deal is reached on the debt limit. 

Negotiators for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden have been meeting regularly to work out a deal on the debt ceiling. Republicans have called for spending cuts to be tied to any deal. However, the president has insisted on a "clean" debt limit bill that would not tie spending cuts to raising the debt limit. 

President Biden has insisted that spending cuts can be part of separate negotiations about the budget. 

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McCarthy said on Thursday morning that negotiators worked late into the night and made progress, but he noted that more work still needs to be done to reach a deal.

"There's still a couple issues hanging out there that we still need to get done," McCarthy told reporters. "We're going to work 24/7 to try to make that happen."

The U.S. Treasury has said that the government will run out of money to fulfill all of its obligations as early as June 1 if the debt ceiling is not raised. That means the government will have to decide which obligations to fulfill. There's fear things like Social Security payments could be reduced or delayed if a deal on the debt limit is not reached. 

On Wednesday, Fitch, a credit rating agency, warned that the U.S. could also lose its perfect credit rating as lawmakers struggle to strike a deal. 

McCarthy said he wasn't worried about Fitch's warning because he believes a deal will be reached; however, he noted that every hour is becoming increasingly important. 

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