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Debt ceiling talks on ‘pause,’ McCarthy’s top negotiator says

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(WASHINGTON) — After optimistic talk from both House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden earlier this week, Rep. Garrett Graves, who is leading debt ceiling talks for House Republicans, said Friday negotiations have hit a snag.

“We decided to press pause because it’s just not productive,” Graves said as he emerged from a Capitol Hill meeting with White House negotiators.

“It’s just unreasonable,” Graves said of the Biden administration’s position.

“Until people are willing to have reasonable conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing, then we’re not going to sit here and talk to ourselves,” Graves added.

The Louisiana Republican touted the Save, Limit, Grow Act that the House narrowly passed last month, which he said “has great savings in it. and it’s responsible and puts us on a path to bend the curve.”

White House negotiators said Friday they are “playing it by ear” when asked about the possibility of more meetings Friday and throughout the weekend.

The apparent breakdown comes after the White House late Thursday night touted “steady progress” following a phone call between Biden, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young and counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti.

“The President’s team informed him that steady progress is being made. The President directed his team to continue pressing forward for a bipartisan agreement and made clear the need to protect essential programs for hardworking Americans and the economic progress of the past two years as negotiations head into advanced stages,” the White House tweeted.

“He remains confident that Congress will take necessary action to avoid default,” the White House added.

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