House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday the duration of the spending caps demanded by Republicans as part of any debt ceiling deal should match the length of time the government’s borrowing authority is extended.
“It seems to me that if there’s a resolution that involves a spending freeze, that that spending freeze should also match the length of time that the debt ceiling is suspended,” Jeffries told reporters in the Capitol.
The timeline question has been one of the chief sticking points preventing an agreement on how to extend the government’s borrowing authority and prevent a default, which the administration says could arrive as soon as June 1.
In legislation passed last month, GOP leaders capped fiscal 2024 spending at 2022 levels, with a 1 percent hike in discretionary programs over the decade to follow. Their proposed debt ceiling hike was much shorter: It would extend the government’s borrowing authority by $1.5 trillion, or through next March, whichever comes first.
Both provisions have been rejected by President Biden, who is leading the talks with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in search of an elusive deal.
Biden’s counteroffer featured a spending freeze at current levels for 2024, with caps lifting after 2025.
“Ten years of spending caps is a non-starter. Period. Full stop,” Jeffries said Wednesday. “There are not Democratic votes in the House of Reps for that to happen.”
Jeffries has not been in the room during the talks, but he is updated regularly and his remarks tend to reflect the positions of the administration.