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At noon on Friday, Republicans conducting the debt-ceiling negotiations with the White House announced that they had hit the “pause button,” stating they were frustrated with the positions taken by the White House team.  This follows a rise in optimism on Thursday when Speaker McCarthy told reporters he saw a pathway to a deal.  What happened?

As I have been writing, getting broad Republican support for any debt ceiling deal was always going to be a heavy lift as many Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling under almost all circumstances.  Conservative Republicans provided the votes for the Speaker’s original package but only after the bill cut spending by nearly $5T and only raised the ceiling until April of 2024.  The short ceiling increase would have brought the entire debt debate back to Washington as the 2024 elections are getting into full swing — something most in DC would like to avoid.

Late on Thursday, the powerful conservative Republican Freedom Caucus announced opposition to any deal and took the position that the Senate should just pass the House bill — something that clearly will not happen. In fact, the House bill had no bipartisan support and only passed the House by a margin of one vote!  Ironically, the four NO ...

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