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Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon by A.F. Branco

A.F. Branco Cartoon – Fireside Chat

A.F. BRANCO | on May 24, 2023 |

Strong house conservatives continue to hold Speaker McCarthy’s feet to the fire on the debt ceiling fight.

Holding McCarthy’s Feet to the Fire
Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2023.

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A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including NewsMax, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Rep. Devin Nunes, Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Chris Salcedo, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and President Trump


McCarthy: Latest Debt Ceiling Package Is ‘on the Right Path’

By: NEWSMAX STAFF | Monday, 22 May 2023 04:01 PM EDT


McCarthy: Latest Debt Ceiling Package Is 'on the Right Path'
(Getty Images)

Top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy said talks over raising the U.S. federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling were “on the right path” ahead of a meeting with Democratic President Joe Biden. The Democratic president and Republican speaker of the House of Representatives have just 10 days to reach a deal to increase the government’s self-imposed borrowing limit or trigger an unprecedented default. Biden and McCarthy will meet at 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT), the White House said, after their negotiating representatives met for more than two hours on Monday.

“I firmly believe what we’re negotiating right now, a majority of Republicans will see that it is a right place to put us on the right path,” McCarthy told reporters.

Any deal to raise the limit must pass both chambers of Congress before Biden could sign it into law. The U.S. Treasury has warned it could be unable to pay all its bills as soon as June 1.

A failure to lift the debt ceiling would trigger a default that would shake financial markets and drive interest rates higher on everything from car payments to credit cards. Ongoing uncertainty is already weighing on investors and stocks.

U.S. markets rose on Monday as investors awaited updates on the negotiations.

McCarthy’s Republicans control the House 222-213, while Biden’s Democrats hold the Senate 51-49, making it difficult to reach a bipartisan deal that would secure enough votes to pass.

It will also take several days to move legislation through Congress if and when Biden and McCarthy come to an agreement. McCarthy said that a deal must be reached this week for it to pass Congress and be signed into law by Biden in time to avoid default.

“We can get a deal tonight. We could deal tomorrow but you got to get something done this week to be able to pass it and move it to the Senate,” McCarthy told reporters.

A White House official on Monday said that Republican negotiators had proposed additional cuts to programs providing food aid to low-income Americans, adding that no deal could pass Congress without support from both parties.


Republicans are pushing for discretionary spending cuts, new work requirements for some programs for low-income Americans and a clawback of COVID-19 aid approved by Congress but not yet spent in exchange for an increase, which is needed to cover the costs of lawmakers’ previously approved spending and tax cuts.

Democrats want to hold spending steady at this year’s levels, while Republicans want to return to 2022 levels. A plan passed by the House last month would cut a wide swath of government spending by 8% next year.

Biden, who has made the economy a centerpiece of his domestic agenda and is seeking re-election, has said he would consider spending cuts alongside tax adjustments but that Republicans’ latest offer was “unacceptable.”

The president tweeted that he would not back “Big Oil” subsidies and “wealthy tax cheats” while putting healthcare and food assistance at risk for millions of Americans.

Both sides must also weigh any concessions with pressure from hardline factions within their own parties.

Some far-right House Freedom Caucus members have urged a halt to talks, demanding that the Senate adopt their House-passed legislation, which has been rejected by Democrats. Former President Donald Trump, a Republican who is seeking another term after losing to Biden in the 2020 election, has urged members of his party to force a default if they do not achieve all their goals, downplaying any economic consequences.

Liberal Democrats have pushed back against any cuts that would harm families and lower-income Americans, with some urging Biden to act on his own by invoking the Constitution’s 14th Amendment — an untested move which the president said on Sunday would face constraints.

The amendment states that the “validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned,” but the clause has been largely unaddressed by the courts.

Biden is racing for a solution after refusing for months to negotiate on the debt ceiling and insisting that Republicans should pass a “clean” unconditional increase before he would agree to any spending negotiations.

In Japan on Sunday, he acknowledged the political implications, saying some far-right House Republicans “know the damage that it would do to the economy” if there was a default but hoped the blame would fall to him and thwart his re-election.

Congress three times raised the debt limit under Trump, without a similar demand from Republicans for sharp spending cuts.

© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Debt Limit Talks Stall as Republicans ‘Press Pause’

NEWSMAX STAFF | Friday, 19 May 2023 02:26 PM EDT


Debt limit talks came to an abrupt standstill Friday after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said it’s time to “pause” negotiations, and a White House official acknowledged there are “real differences” that are making talks difficult. McCarthy said resolution to the standoff is “easy,” if only President Joe Biden would agree to some spending cuts Republicans are demanding. It is unclear when negotiations would resume.

“We’ve got to get movement by the White House and we don’t have any movement yet,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at the Capitol. “So, yeah, we’ve got to pause.”

A White House official who was granted anonymity Friday to discuss the private conversations said there are “real differences” between the parties on the budget issues and further “talks will be difficult.” The official added that the president’s team is working hard towards a “reasonable bipartisan solution” that can pass both the House and the Senate.

Biden’s administration is racing to strike a deal with Republicans led by McCarthy as the nation careens toward a potentially catastrophic debt default if the government fails to increase the borrowing limit, now at $31 trillion, to keep paying the nation’s bills.

Wall Street turned lower as the negotiations on raising the nation’s debt limit came to a sudden halt, raising worries that the country could edge closer to risking a highly damaging default on U.S. government debt.

The president who has been in Japan attending the Group of Seven summit had no immediate comment. Biden had already planned to cut short the rest of his trip and he is expected to return to Washington later Sunday.

Negotiators met for a third day behind closed doors at the Capitol with hopes of settling on an agreement this weekend before possible House votes next week. They face a looming deadline as soon as June 1 when the Treasury Department has said it will run out of cash to pay the government’s incurred debt. Republicans want to extract steep spending cuts that Biden has so far refused to accept. Any deal would need the support of both Republicans and Democrats to find approval in a divided Congress and be passed into law.

“Look, we can’t be spending more money next year,” McCarthy said at the Capitol. “We have to spend less than we spent the year before. It’s pretty easy.”

But McCarthy is facing a hard-right flank of Freedom Caucus and other Republican lawmakers that almost certain to oppose any deal with the White House. The internal political dynamics confronting the embattled McCarthy leaves the Democrats skeptical of giving away too much to the Republicans that drives away the Democrat support they will need to pass any compromise through the Congress.

Experts have warned that even the threat of a debt default would send shockwaves through the economy. Markets had been rising this week on hopes of a deal. But that shifted abruptly Friday after negotiators ended late morning an hour after they had begun.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., tapped by McCarthy to lead the talks, emerged from an hourlong session at the Capitol and said gaps remained between House Republicans and the Democrat administration.

“It’s time to press pause because it’s just not productive,” Graves told reporters.

He added that the negotiations have become “just unreasonable” and that it was unclear when talks would resume.

The S&P 500 went from a gain of 0.3% to a loss of 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average went from a gain of 117 points to a loss of about 90 points.

Biden departed early from a dinner with G7 leaders in Hiroshima on Friday night. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden planned to be briefed on the negotiations by his team Friday evening.

As Republicans demand spending cuts and policy changes, Biden is facing increased pushback from Democrats, particularly progressives, not to give in to demands they argue will be harmful to Americans.

Another Republican negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, said, “There is a “serious gap” between the sides.

“We’re in a tough spot,” said McHenry, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, as he left the meeting.

McCarthy faces pressures from his hard-right flank to cut the strongest deal possible for Republicans, and he risks a threat to his leadership as speaker if he fails to deliver.

A day earlier, the conservative House Freedom Caucus said there should be no further discussions until the Senate takes action on the House Republican bill that was approved last month to raise the debt limit into 2024 in exchange for spending caps and policy changes. Biden has said he would veto that Republican measure.

In the Senate, which is controlled by majority Democrats, the Republican leader Mitch McConnell has taken a backseat publicly, and is pushing Biden to strike a deal directly with McCarthy. McConnell blamed Biden for having “waited months before agreeing to negotiate” with the speaker.

“They are the only two who can reach an agreement,” McConnell said in a tweet. “It is past time for the White House to get serious. Time is of the essence.”

Democrats are wary of any deal with Republicans, and particularly refuse the Republican proposal to protect defense and veterans accounts from spending caps, arguing that the cuts will fall too heavily on other domestic programs. Republicans also want to impose stricter work requirements on government aid recipients. Biden has suggested he might be open to considering it, but Democrats in Congress have said is a nonstarter.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

McCarthy: Debt Ceiling Deal Possible This Week After Biden Meet

NEWSMAX STAFF| Tuesday, 16 May 2023 04:19 PM EDT


Democratic President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy’s U.S. debt ceiling negotiations ended on Tuesday after less than an hour, as the looming fear of an unprecedented American debt default prompted Biden to cut short an upcoming Asia trip. But the meeting ended on an upbeat and unexpected note as McCarthy, coming out of the meeting with Biden and other congressional leaders, said, “It is possible to get a deal by the end of the week.”

House of Representatives Speaker McCarthy told reporters Biden is trying to reach a debt ceiling deal by June 1 to lift the threat of economic calamity

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time,” McCarthy told reporters, saying the less-than-an-hour session had set the stage for future conversations.

Biden and McCarthy sat down in the Oval Office with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. The president leaves on Wednesday for a three-day G7 summit in Japan, but a source said Biden decided on Tuesday to skip a stop to Papau New Guinea and Australia afterward.

Ahead of the Oval Office meeting, Biden and McCarthy’s aides have discussed the requirements for two key programs that provide food and cash aid to families, in the past week’s negotiations over raising the government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling to avoid an economically catastrophic default. Expanding the work requirements has been a key demand of Republicans, who are also pushing for spending cuts in exchange for their votes to raise the debt limit.

Biden and McCarthy have little time to strike a deal. On Monday, the Treasury Department reiterated its warning that it could run short of money to pay all its bills as soon as June 1, triggering a default that economists say would be likely to spark a sharp economic downturn.

McCarthy on Tuesday told reporters that his party, which controls the chamber by a 222-213 margin, would only agree to a deal that cuts spending.

“We can raise the debt ceiling if we limit what we’re going to spend in the future,” McCarthy told reporters. Both parties agree on the need for urgent action.

In the past week, staffs for both sides have discussed a range of issues, including spending caps, new work requirements for some benefit programs for low-income Americans and changes to energy permitting in exchange for votes to lift the limit, according to people briefed on the talks. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details about closed-door negotiations, said the work requirement discussions focus on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Biden alluded to the talks in public remarks over the weekend, saying he would not consider such a move for the Medicaid health program for low-income Americans.

“The president has been clear that he will not accept proposals that take away peoples’ health coverage,” said White House spokesperson Michael Kikukawa. “The president has also been clear that he will not accept policies that push Americans into poverty. He will evaluate whatever proposals Republicans bring to the table based on those principles.”


A similar 2011 standoff over the debt limit led to a historic downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, sparking a sell-off in stocks and pushing the government’s borrowing costs higher. The current deadlock has rattled investors, sending the cost of insuring exposure to U.S. government debt to record highs. A Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Monday found that three-fourths of Americans fear a default would take a heavy toll on families like theirs.

“Nobody should use default as a hostage,” Schumer said in a Senate speech on Tuesday. “The consequences would be devastating for America.”

NICE TRY CHUCKIE BABY. You forgot we have records, videos and Congressional records where you held The Debt Ceiling hostage WITH TRUMP. LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES. Your usual conduct.

Some observers have raised concerns that the five-party talks are too unwieldy to make progress. No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune told reporters the talks appear to have “too many cooks.”

“As we’ve said all along, it is Biden and McCarthy,” Thune said. “So, whoever can actually speak on behalf of the president needs to get in the room, and get McCarthy’s best people in there, and get it done.”

McCarthy himself said he would prefer one-on-one talks with Biden.

“If the president comes to an agreement, the Democrats in the Senate will vote for it. The House will pass it, if we are all in agreement,” McCarthy said. “Why do we waste more time going around and around, not solving any of the real problems? I think you’re putting the country in jeopardy when you do that.”

© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

McCarthy: Too ‘Far Apart’ for Debt Deal by Weekend

By Eric Mack    |   Monday, 15 May 2023 02:37 PM EDT


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., blasted President Joe Biden for being disingenuous and failing to negotiate on the House-passed debt ceiling package, saying time is running out and Biden wants debt default more than a deal.

“I still think it’s far apart,” McCarthy told a reporter Monday while walking through the Capitol Building. “It doesn’t seem to me yet they want a deal. It just seems like they want to look like they are in a meeting, but they aren’t talking anything serious.”

McCarthy cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report released recently that was forced to raise the debt estimates from the February report.

“In the meantime, we just watched the CBO come out and say we’re $100 billion further in debt,” McCarthy said. “It seems more like they want a default than a deal to me.”

Time is running out to reach a deal before the June warning of surpassing the debt limit and sending the U.S. into debt default for the first time.

“I think we’ve got to have a deal done by this weekend to have a timeline to be able to pass it in both houses,” McCarthy said.

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