The White House is refusing to discuss work requirements for social benefits programs, a Republican on the GOP debt ceiling negotiations team complained on Thursday.
"Their efforts actually put in jeopardy those very benefits to senior citizens like Medicare and Social Security because they're refusing to negotiate on work requirements," Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., told reporters as he left the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Thursday evening.
Graves called the overall progress "slow."
"I mean this is just a crazy calculation on their part," he said, according to The Hill.
Graves told reporters that the White House is "refusing to negotiate on work requirements" for anti-poverty programs, which he called "crazy." He said disagreements over funding Social Security and Medicare versus work requirements remain an issue between the two sides.
"We have a lot of hang-ups but that's one of the big ones," he said as he left McCarthy's office, adding, "We're not going to stop negotiating."
Graves admitted the issue was not the only sticking point to a deal, but emphasized it was a major one.
House Speaker McCarthy told reporters Thursday evening that the two sides have not reached a deal. "We knew this would not be easy," he said.
It is unclear precisely how much time Congress has left to act. The Treasury Department was warned that it could be unable to cover all its obligations as soon as June 1, but on Thursday said it would sell $119 billion worth of debt that will come due on that date, suggesting to some market watchers that it was not an iron-clad deadline.
"They have suggested in the past that they would not announce auctions that they did not believe they had the means to settle," said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior rates strategist at TD Securities in New York. "So I do think that's a positive note."
Any agreement will have to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate. That could be tricky, as some conservative Republicans and many liberal Democrats said they were upset by the prospect of compromise.
"I don't think everybody's going to be happy at the end of the day. That's not how the system works," McCarthy said.
President Joe Biden has resisted Republican proposals to stiffen work requirements for anti-poverty programs and loosen oil and gas drilling rules, according to Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.
Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., who leads the powerful Republican Study Committee, told Reuters a deal was likely by Friday afternoon.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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