May 28, 2023 debt ceiling news

By Shawna Mizelle, Paul LeBlanc, Andrew Menezes, Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 2046 GMT (0446 HKT) May 31, 2023
30 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:21 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

We've wrapped up our live coverage for the day. You can read more about the debt ceiling negotiations here, or scroll through the updates below.

7:22 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

Biden urges Congress to pass debt limit deal as lawmakers express concern

From Sam Fossum and Priscilla Alavarez

President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass the tentative debt limit deal he reached with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy remarks from the White House Sunday evening.

"That agreement now goes to the United States House and to the Senate. I strongly urge both, both chambers to pass that agreement," the president said.

He later added that it "wouldn't have made a difference," when asked if he wished he had agreed to negotiate sooner. 

The president also said that he believes critics will "find" that he did not concede much in the negotiations, and that while he does not support getting rid of the debt limit, he is open to the idea of invoking the 14th amendment in the future to avoid a default. 

When asked about working with McCarthy, Biden said: "I think he negotiated with me in good faith. He kept his word. He said what he would do. He did what he said he'd do and I have no idea whether he has the votes. I expect he does or I don't think he would've made the agreement."

7:16 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

Why the debt limit marathon is far from over

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The debt ceiling agreement clinched by House Republicans and the White House late Saturday was the culmination of mad-dash negotiations over the course of the past week that regularly stretched late into the night.

But the marathon is far from over, and there is little certainty the nation will avoid a default as both parties work to rally support around the package.

Here are some of the elements party leaders will have to deal with as they race to avoid an economic meltdown:

A tough sell to members of both parties: House members on both the left and right are already balking at some of the details said to be included in the debt ceiling package.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal told CNN that Democratic leaders should be concerned about securing progressive support for the deal. Meanwhile, hard-line conservative Republicans who had demanded larger spending cuts threatened to withhold their support.

House Rules Committee looms large: McCarthy's first real test will be Tuesday in the House Rules panel, which must adopt a rule to allow the bill to be approved by a majority of the House.

To win the speakership in January, McCarthy agreed to name three conservative hard-liners — Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Chip Roy of Texas and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — to the committee, a major concession since the powerful panel is usually stacked with close allies of leadership.

Norman and Roy have already emerged as sharp critics of the debt limit deal, while Massie has been quiet as he waits for the bill text to be released.

In the Senate: Any one member can slow down the process by as long as a week, adding another layer of uncertainty as Washington rushes to avoid default.

The clock is ticking: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen set June 5 as the date the government will run out of cash to pay its bills in full and on time. The US has never before defaulted, and economists predict the consequences would be catastrophic.

6:16 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

GOP senators push back on defense spending in private call about debt deal

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju 

A handful of powerful Senate Republicans have raised concerns about the tentative debt ceiling deal struck between the White House and House Republicans.

In a Senate GOP call Sunday, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the chamber's Appropriations Committee, and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Armed Services panel, expressed concern about the top-line spending number for defense -- which reflects the president's budget.

The pair argued it was too low to keep up with the rate of inflation, a source on the call told CNN. The source said their pushback was the centerpiece of concern raised on the call and will warrant more "family discussion." 

The source told CNN that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was effusive in his praise for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his team's work and hard-fought negotiation.  

6:13 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

House to return Tuesday night ahead of expected Wednesday debt ceiling vote

From CNN's Haley Talbot and Melanie Zanona

The House will return Tuesday night for suspension votes, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, giving GOP leadership the opportunity to whip its members in person ahead of an expected debt limit vote Wednesday.

The whip operation will be intense for the leadership team, as having members in Washington could make it easier for leadership to convince certain lawmakers to support the deal.

Members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus are expected to meet Monday ahead of the vote so they can gather as a group. A number caucus members have been vocal on Twitter about their outrage over the deal. 

The White House, meanwhile, is planning additional caucus calls for Senate and House Democrats, including virtual briefings on Monday and Tuesday focused on specific aspects of the deal, according to a schedule of the briefings obtained by CNN.

White House representatives on the virtual briefings will include John Podesta, senior adviser to President Joe Biden; Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young; and Aviva Aron-Dine, deputy director of the National Economic Council.

5:49 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

Here's what the tentative debt limit deal would mean for student loans

From CNN's Jack Forrest and Tami Luhby

A 2023 tassel rests on a graduation cap as students walk in a procession for Howard University's commencement in Washington, DC, on May 13.
A 2023 tassel rests on a graduation cap as students walk in a procession for Howard University's commencement in Washington, DC, on May 13. Alex Brandon/AP

The tentative deal struck by the White House and House Republicans to raise the debt limit would not jettison President Joe Biden's plan to provide one-time relief for qualifying student loan borrowers, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

The deal would, however, require borrowers to pay back their student loans again, according to a fact sheet circulated by the House GOP.

Repayments on federal student loans, which have been paused since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, would commence at the end of the summer, as the Biden administration has already announced, another source familiar with the debt ceiling talks said.

Biden's student loan relief proposal is currently before the US Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on it in coming weeks. The court heard oral arguments in February, when several conservative justices appeared skeptical of the government’s authority to discharge millions of dollars in federally held loans.

If the student loan forgiveness program is allowed to move forward, individual borrowers who made less than $125,000 in either 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who made less than $250,000 a year could see up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.

If a qualifying borrower also received a federal Pell grant while enrolled in college, the individual is eligible for up to $20,000 of debt forgiveness.

CNN's Katie Lobosco contributed to this report

4:16 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

House Rules Committee looms large over debt ceiling deal

From Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona

Before the full US House can vote on the tentative debt limit deal struck between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it has to get through the chamber's Rules Committee.

The panel must adopt a rule to allow the deal to be considered by the full House, and some conservatives are making their distaste for the deal clear.

To win his speakership, McCarthy agreed to name three conservative hard-liners — Reps. Ralph Norman, Chip Roy and Thomas Massie — to the Rules Committee, a major concession since the powerful panel is usually stacked with close allies of leadership.

There are currently nine Republicans and four Democrats on the Rules panel.

Norman and Roy have already emerged as sharp critics of the debt limit deal, while Massie has been quiet as he waits for bill text to be released.

If all three vote against the rule in committee, that would kill the bill — unless any of the Democrats on the panel vote to advance the rule.

Norman told CNN he would vote against the rule unless major changes are made to the bipartisan deal.

“Bottom line, if the debt limit is raised above the 1.5 level, and if the timeline extends to 2025, IF the student loan payout is still intact, if the IRS agent funding is still there, if the provisions in the IRA is still intact, if the work requirement EXCLUDES MEDICAID, I will vote against the rule,” he said in a text message.

Roy and Massie have not responded to CNN’s requests for comment on the rule.

If the rule is approved in committee, McCarthy must then limit defections to no more than four Republicans to get the rule approved on the floor — assuming all Democrats vote against it, as they typically do for rules.

2:21 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

Biden says he's confident deal to raise the debt ceiling will reach his desk

From CNN's Sam Fossum and Priscilla Alvarez

President Joe Biden speaks with reporters at the White House on Sunday, May 28.
President Joe Biden speaks with reporters at the White House on Sunday, May 28. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

President Joe Biden told reporters Sunday that he's confident the tentative deal to raise the debt limit will reach his desk.

"I’m about to go in and call (House Speaker Kevin McCarthy) now at 3 o’clock to make sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. I think we’re in good shape," the president said. 

Asked whether there were any further sticking points, Biden said: "None."

2:19 p.m. ET, May 28, 2023

Biden and McCarthy won't speak until they have text for tentative deal

From CNN's Aileen Graf

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy won't speak until they have text for their tentative debt ceiling agreement, chief GOP negotiator Rep. Patrick McHenry said.

The North Carolina Republican did not give a solid timeline for when the text would be produced but said the “whirring of the machines” could probably be heard as officials put it together.

Speaking late Saturday, McCarthy said text of the package would be finalized by Sunday, setting up a required 72-hour period for members of Congress to review the bill. He said he hopes the House will vote as soon as Wednesday, allowing precious little time for party leaders to secure sufficient support.

In the Senate, any one member can slow down the process by as long as a week, adding another layer of uncertainty as Washington rushes to avoid default.