The ‘X-Date’ Cometh

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters about debt ceiling negotiations at the U.S. Capitol Thursday. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Congress looks ready to blow past the date Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the government could default on its obligations, but some lawmakers are betting they have more wiggle room.

“I don’t believe the first of the month is the real deadline,” said Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.

It’s a big bet to take on something that could upend the global economy. But passing a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit before June 1 looks nearly impossible at the moment. Even if Republican leaders reach an agreement with President Joe Biden as soon as today, they have said House staff will need between 24 and 48 hours to draft the legislative text. After that, the chamber’s rules require three days for members to review it before it comes to the floor for a vote.

Congressional leaders still hope to pass legislation sometime next week. House members have largely left town for Memorial Day recess, but they are on notice to return to vote if needed. 

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