One of McCarthy’s negotiators, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), said the two parties are still held up on the spending cuts and work requirements for welfare services and that there are “many things” the president and the speaker will discuss on their call.
Earlier in the day, McCarthy sounded optimistic that a deal could come soon, telling reporters he felt "closer to an agreement” as he entered the building. And on Friday, McHenry said he was “hopeful” about the direction the negotiations were going; but, as he entered the Speaker’s Office early Saturday evening, he sounded less optimistic about coming to a deal by the end of the day.
“There's a major disagreement between the two parties,” McHenry said. “Republicans want to cut spending. That's what we've offered with our approach to raising the debt ceiling. We want work requirements for able-bodied folks to get back in the workforce. Those things are big issues, and there's no way to sort of gloss that over. And so they're big and thorny issues that we have to reconcile in divided government.”
When asked if he still has that hope, the North Carolina Republican said, “There’s always hope, but Miss Progress, she’s a killer.”
There is an obligation, McHenry said, to bring “the most conservative package” they can get the president to sign and railed against Biden not wanting to cut spending, saying he is a “liberal Democrat who’s spent more money than any other president in modern history.”
McHenry also noted that only Biden and McCarthy were capable of handling any lingering disagreements, telling reporters, “most of the issues that remain, they need to resolve.”
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) told NBC News that he would “push whatever bill solves the problem” and sounded pessimistic about the status of the negotiations.
“We'll find out soon if the President is really interested in making sure we do not default,” Emmer said.
Members of McCarthy's whip team were seen entering the speaker's office throughout the afternoon on Saturday.