House members will be allowed to take the Memorial Day holiday recess this weekend but must be ready to return to Washington if needed to vote on raising the debt limit, The Hill reported Wednesday.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., told lawmakers Wednesday they could return to their home districts Thursday for the Memorial Day weekend but must be prepared to return to the Capitol in 24 hours if a deal is reached and a vote is scheduled on raising the nation's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, the report said.
"Following tomorrow's votes, if some new agreement is reached between President [Joe] Biden and Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy, members will receive 24 hours' notice in the event we need to return to Washington for any additional votes either over the weekend or next week," The Hill reported Scalise saying on the House floor.
Absent a scheduled vote on the issue, the House will remain adjourned until June 5, which is four days past the estimated June 1 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for a potential default, the report said.
Although negotiations between McCarthy and the White House remain at an impasse, one of the Republican negotiators, North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, said it would take between 24 and 48 hours to draft any agreement into legislation for a vote, and another 72 hours for members to review the bill before voting, according to The Hill.
The House and the Democratic-led Senate must approve the legislation.
The Senate is not in session this week but is scheduled to return May 30, which would allow the bill to be passed before the June 1 deadline and reach Biden's desk for a signature.
As the potential for missing the debt limit deadline looms, some Democrats are floating alternatives to circumvent Congress, including Biden invoking the 14th Amendment which affirms that "the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned," The Washington Post reported.
That solution would only be temporary and would likely face legal challenges.
According to the Post, a default by the U.S. could send markets into a 5% to 7% fall, losing trillions in value and possibly leading to businesses cutting back on investments and laying off workers. That would result in consumers spending less and potentially sending the nation into a recession.
"You'd be talking about a large amount of people losing employment and income," Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, told the Post.
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